Time and Distance

It’s been a long summer of hot weather and hot heads. Hot tomatoes in the garden. Hot, crispy lawns that are fighting back to go green again.

And now, 9/11. I almost feel embarrassed to post my trivial experiences from that day and the days following, but it’s like the Kennedy Assassination. We know where we were at the time.

On September 11, 2001, I was in the driveway of my sister’s home on Long Island NY,  placing my suitcase in the trunk of her car. We were just about to leave for Islip airport and my return flight home.

Instead, my sister came outside to say that a friend called her and told her to put on the TV. The first tower had been hit. Chaos everywhere. Clouds of thick smoke, to be followed by unimaginable death, pain, and suffering.

We drove to Islip to see if we could learn anything about arranging future flights. As if there would even be future flights in the days immediately following the attack.

The airport was closed so we circled back and returned to stand in front of the TV, not knowing what to think. The who, what, and why.

For the next 10 days, I awoke at 3 AM to call American Airlines. Every night it was the same. Busy signals or long, long wait times. I didn’t mind waiting, but at 4 AM each morning, I hung up and went back to bed, my calls unanswered. Finally, I got through to ticketing.

Two weeks after 9/11, I returned home. As the plane descended towards my home airport, I experienced a brief event of confusion and fear. I looked out over the landscape and didn’t recognize where I was. Not even the expanse of the huge lake on which we lived.

The wheel wells opened, the tarmac flew up to meet us, and then, we were home. Safe.

I have never been able to remember the year that 9/11 took place. I google it every year. 9/11 will forever remain an event to be recalled with sadness for those who lost their lives and awe that such a thing could even take place.

To all the survivors, to all those left behind. May you find solace and even joy. Life goes on.

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