Friday, September 9, 2011

Confession - September Eleventh

One Tuesday morning, I woke up to the sounds of nervous laughter. 

Strangely enough, it was Howard Stern's nervous laughter. I am not a Howard Stern fan so I don't know a lot about his "style" but I knew something sounded strange in his voice that morning. God help him, Stern was trying to sort his way through the unimaginable.

I heard him say he was watching the news.

So I decided to turn on my television. 

And there, on my screen, were two burning buildings. 

I stared at the TV a few moments, walked over to my window and pulled open the shades.

And there, out my window, were two burning buildings.

I stared out that window for a few moments and then I tried calling home. The calls would not go through. So I resumed my quiet stare out the window until finally the phone rang. It was Larry, home in California. 

I spoke to him in quiet confusion while my eyes never left the window. He sounded nervous but I was still too confused to feel anything but sleepy and intrigued by the sight before me. 

I felt no sense of fear or danger because the World Trade Center was a few miles away and I had no idea that this was anything more than an accident. 

But I could see everything clearly from the 13th floor of my midtown apartment building and reality would soon set in.

I had only lived in New York for two weeks. Today was supposed to be my first day of graduate classes at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Something told me I didn't need to hop in the shower quite yet.

While talking to Larry, I kept saying over and over again, "This is crazy. How are they ever going to fix those buildings?"

Suddenly there was a huge cloud of smoke surrounding one of the buildings and I couldn't see it anymore.

Larry started to explain to me that people may have run airplanes into those towers on purpose.

Then, I saw one of the buildings simply evaporate down towards the earth. Only after I saw that building fall, did I realize that the other building was no longer there either.

Well, that answered my question. There was no fixing those those buildings.

From then on, my world had changed.

I went to NYU for an adventure. Yup, got that. That night, I slept on the floor of some strange guy's apartment while listening to fighter jets circle overhead. I had never done that before. 

My year in New York City would not be the Broadway dream I had imagined. It was as if I stepped off the plane with my arms wide open and, two weeks later, I was in a fighter's crouch. My fingers became tight, little fists instead of enthusiastic jazz hands. 

Many things changed for many people after that day. All I can do is hope that our children and grandchildren never have to witness such hate. But I do hope they inherit the wisdom we learned from that day -- to unite with and care for your neighbor in the hardest of times.  

Walking to school today, Maya observed a 9-11 flag memorial outside the high school. She asked me what it was for so I answered her as simply as I could. "Ten years ago some bad people used airplanes to run into two tall skyscrapers in New York. Those flags are to remember all the people who died because they did that." 

She paused and I worried about how she would process my words. 

Then she said, "Well those are VERY bad people. When I am a grown-up, I will never hurt anyone because I will have my own mind."


1 comment:

January Dawn said...

I'm not sure what to say but ... I feel the need to say something after reading this. Your daughter is a very wise little soul. Enough said there I suppose.