It’s becoming a tradition to write about September 11th, if only because that day is so much clearer in my memory than almost any other day from high school.
I was a mess then. I’d just started a relationship that turned out to be a terrible decision. My life didn’t implode for another 5 months or so, but that day, and the days after, I could feel it.
I worried it was the end of the world.
Y’know, Long Island is an island, but that wasn’t clear to me until 9/11, when I heard newscasters mentioning “mass evacuations” and heard my best friend’s brother, the cool, living-in-the-city, actor brother, walked out of the city and across one of the suspension bridges to get out of the chaos and back home to his parents’ house.
The exodus. The triage.
It feels hard to explain to people who aren’t New Yorkers. That day, I was 100 miles away. No one I know died. And yet, the trauma is there. The hesitation, the wound.
Our memories came up when we were in Austin and it was odd to hear my California friends tell their versions – how school was cancelled or classes were called off in favor of watching new reports. It was early morning for them still. Like always, they were three hours behind.
From what I remember, our school stayed open and running, maintaining normalcy. I know I’m biased, but I think it was a good decision at the time. I’m thankful for the administrators who handled it, for the teachers who spoke to us about what was happening as best they could. I’m grateful for living in a small town, where neighbors feel like family, and school is a home-base, and we were still OK for that moment in time.
Sending my love to those who lost loved ones that day. Photo of Century City buildings, Los Angeles.