Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years After

I always get into this weird, deeply reflective mood on this day. I wrestle with a million conflicting emotions about the aftermath of the WTC attack but mostly, I tend to relive the day it happened. It was so strange.

I first heard the news when I stopped to pick up my breakfast sandwich at Jakes. I thought at first they were joking, or maybe mistaken. But when I arrived at work, the entire office was standing in front of the TV that was normally only used to play videos, tranfixed in disbelief and horror. The silence was deep and unnerving. Not even the phones rang, when normally they would be ringing off the hook at that hour. We watched that endless video loop for a very long time, waiting for some explanation that might possibly make sense. Of course, it never came.

Mostly on this day, I think of my friend Harry H. McColgan. After work I stopped in the local bar for a beer, as I customarily did. Harry was there. We sat together and watched that video loop some more. I felt shattered and scared in way that felt foreign to me. I didn't want to be alone that night, so Harry came home with me. We slept in my bed, never really touching, but I can't begin to describe how comforting it was to have another human being breathing next to me that night.

I usually call Harry every year on this night, to thank him for that, but this year I can't do it. The ravages of time and ill health have taken him far from my reach and it makes me even more sad than I felt ten years ago. Still, it's time to move on and honor the dead by showing kindness to the living. So today, I think I'm not going to bitch about our crazy politics. Instead, I'm going to go out and do something nice for a stranger. Seems about as good a tribute as any.


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Blogger Ruth said...

Thanks. I wound up almost entirely alone on the 53rd floor of a tall building in Dallas, waiting to hear from my son who had been scheduled to fly that day. After he called, at last, I could go home like everyone else did.

5:52:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I remember worrying about my friends in NYC. It took days to hear from some of them and I was a wreck over it. Can only imagine what it was like wondering if your own kid was okay.

10:37:00 AM  

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