I've been in a funk for a couple of days, and it all started with several conversations with friends about the future of this country earlier in the week. Then the mix gets murkier, as I am thinking a lot about my Mother's death, as next week it will be a year since her passing. Then add to the stew the debut of the movie "World Trade Center." Not one person I know is interested in seeing it, and I wobble between wanting to see it and avoiding it because I have very vivid memories of 9-11 without prompting (Doesn't anyone with a pulse who was alive and breathing then?) that probably don't need to resurface during viewing. In my mind, all of this angst is borrowing trouble, as my grandmother would call it, and today it is my goal to lighten up a bit. So I made the decision to write and try to exorcise a demon or two here.
My memory of the day of 9-11-2001 started in bed. I was living in San Antonio, Texas. I remember hearing the phone ring, and ignoring it, snuggling back down to sleep. Anyone that knows me even in the slightest knows I am not conscious until 9 am, and would never call me, so I ignored that ring. Then another ring, I remember being irked at this point as I struggled to continue to snooze. The third ring woke me up immediately, as I knew it had to be something serious for someone to be so insistent. I answered and it was my friend Roger, calling from New York City.
"Laura, I am OK" he said, "But the phone lines may go down here. I can't get through to my Mom, would you call and make sure she knows I am OK?"
I struggled to follow his rapid fire statement, and sleepily said "Of course you are OK. Why all the drama?"
"You don't know?" was his answer, "You may not want to turn on your television set." He then he went on to fill me in quickly on what was happening in the city.
I am a pretty sharp knife, I generally "get" what I am told rapidly, but I struggled with the reality of what he was saying for a full two or three minutes. I don't ever recall being as confused by information in my life, like my brain could not conceive or comprehend the situation. Like I was still dreaming. If it had been someone else, I would have immediately thought it was a joke, but Roger has been my friend far too long for me not to know his voice when he is completely serious.
And so began the worst day of our collective lives.
Every minute for weeks came one horrible image and realization after another. Worrying about friends I knew in New York. Waiting with the rest of America for survivors, remembering when Genie carefully explained to me through her "ant/ bowling ball analogy" why there wouldn't be any. The silence of the skies, the strange "otherworldly feeling" normal daily activities took on. And most of all the fear that settled over everyone like a thick blanket of ash from the burning rubble.
Life does indeed go on. After weeks of thinking I would never laugh again, I did. But the fear planted like a seed in everyone took root, and our future as a country turned on this dime. Compassion and love for humanity drowned by this fear has led us to today. "An eye for an eye" leaves everyone blind, and that is where we find ourselves as a country now. But I do have hope and faith in people. That this too shall pass and this country will turn back on those that have manipulated this fear for their own gain and demand accountability for their actions. Find them to be the true traitors to this country they are, instead of the grinning good ole boys they play on television. And it is my hope that I see it in my lifetime.