I remember the shocked zombie walk across the East River, covered in dust and ash, the debris we couldn’t bear to think about. I remember all of us instinctively cowering as each Army plane screamed overhead, then, in wordless accord, getting up and silently trudging on like we were walking to our doom. I remember making our way across the Manhattan Bridge drinking champagne from the bottle and smoking a hundred cigarettes, my dear friend Stephanie right there with me. I remember being filled with futile, irrational anger at the gorgeous weather. The end of the world couldn’t happen on a beautiful day, could it?
When we got across the bridge to Brooklyn, I remember scanning all the cops we passed for a familiar face, finally grabbing one poor overwhelmed officer by her collar brass and screaming “Where is she?” She called into her radio, “Park Sergeant on the air?” And I remember the response, the three best words I’ve ever heard, before or since. I heard “On the air” in my beloved’s voice, the voice I loved, and I remember nearly swooning with shock and relief. I held onto Stephanie and cried then, for the first time that day. Like everyone else, I didn’t stop crying for weeks, for months. I’m crying now, even though I was one of the lucky ones. Even though she’s sitting right here next to me. It’s impossible to think about the horrors of that day and the days that followed and not cry.
I am one of the very, very lucky ones, and beyond all else, beyond the horror and the terror and the feeling of violation, and the depression and the fear and funerals that followed, my good fortune, really, my dumb luck is what I remember. And I am grateful.
September 11, 2014 at 11:01 am
I am so glad you were both lucky. And humbled, sad and mindful of those who were not. Thank you for your intimate perspective and commemoration.
September 11, 2014 at 11:21 am
September 11, 2014 at 6:46 pm
September 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm
September 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm
I read this yesterday but I couldn’t comment. It was one of the most touching things I read all day. It’s good to know that there were some happy endings that day.
September 12, 2014 at 7:14 pm
There certainly were some happy endings. It’s easy to focus on the bad stuff (because there was so much of it), but after all this time, I am trying to remember more of the things about which I am grateful than the things that hurt.
September 19, 2014 at 10:50 am
Wow. You communicate feelings effectively and write v well. Thank you. Was wondering—side note, I’m brand-new to your blog, so please excuse!—is your blog name an allusion to the most amazing movie «Next Stop Wonderland» (Hope Davis) 〜？
September 19, 2014 at 11:29 am
Thank you very much!
Actually, the name of the blog (and the concept) was inspired by the novel, “Truth in Advertising.” It’s explained in my About page, linked here: https://myobt.wordpress.com/about/
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May 11, 2015 at 12:14 am
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