I was here that morning. I had been sleeping on a friend’s couch for almost a month, having just recently moved into the city. I was moving his car from one side of the street to the other. Thinking it was just another morning.
I heard the news about the first tower being ‘accidentally run into’ by a plane in a convenient store. The other tower had been hit before I ran the half-block home to see what was happening on the news.
I sat comatose and watched CNN probably for an hour before realizing I should call people and tell them I was ok. Then sat for another half hour after that, before realizing I should call others to see if they were ok.
The guy I was living with worked in the financial district. I didn’t know where. I couldn’t get in touch with him. A few hours later, he came in the door and told me he watched people leap to their death. From one of the towers.
The whole thing was awful. Obviously.
Not feeling easy at all, we went out that night. We had to walk 12 blocks before we found a bar open. For New York City that is like 100 miles. The streets were as quiet as they would be in any farm town in the middle of nowhere. It was weird. I don’t remember what we talked about at the bar. I remember Bush speaking. And the bar cheering and clapping after every other sentence.
I think I was in shock. I think we all were.
I don’t remember anything else. Like nothing else. Yet, the things I do remember are so clear, it’s like it was yesterday.
I wasn’t close to the danger. No one I knew that I would call a friend died that day.
But there is emotional scarring from that incident that I know will never fully heal.
I have been uneasy the last few days. Irritable. Emotional. When I was walking downtown the other day, I saw the barricades. People getting ready for the tribute or parade or whatever it was. I can’t get myself to pay attention to that news even for a second. I realized quickly that I always get uneasy around this time. I always get irritable. Always get emotional. Every year for the last ten.
There is no lesson here. Just a story I never really shared. About the blackest day in my life.