Friday, September 11, 2009

Do you remember?

Where you were on 9/11? When I woke up this morning my first thought wasn't that it was September 11. I actually didn't remember the date until I turned on the television and someone was talking about that day. I can remember that day so clearly, where I was, what I was doing. I was married to my first husband, my son was just 8 years old and I was getting him ready for school when I turned on Good Morning America. A plane had just flown into one of the World Trade Centers and Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson were talking about it, wondering if it was an accident. And while they were speaking and the cameras were on the first tower burning you could see another plane on the horizon. When the plane disappeared into the 2nd tower I will never forget the disbelief in Diane Sawyer's voice as it hit the tower. At that point I got scared. I sent my kid to school which was across the street from our house thinking that might be the safest place for him. I wasn't scheduled to teach that day and I don't think I moved from the sofa for the next 8 hours.

I remember the evening of September 11 I sent my husband to fill my car with gas, I don't know if it was a flight response but I wanted my car fueled up and ready to go. I also went to yoga class that evening, and I remember lying on the floor and the utter quiet, not just in the yoga studio, but in the City. No airplanes. And living within a few miles of O'hare Airport, the world's busiest, that was eerie.

Over the days that followed I rarely took my eyes off the tv. On the Today show one morning I watched a man play an answering machine message that his wife left while she was trapped in the towers. Her name was Melissa Harrington-Hughes and she was from San Francisco. She was my age and had been in the same sorority as me. Knowing she was trapped, she called her husband to tell him she loved him. He was in Manhattan during the days that followed holding out hope that she was alive. She wasn't. I know that message has haunted those of us who heard it ever since. It also made me think, "If I was dying and could say goodbye to someone I love, who would I call?". I realized it wasn't my husband. We had a rocky marriage, had been married less than 2 years and it just wasn't working. We separated within 2 weeks of September 11.

So now it's 8 years later. How time flies....September 11 doesn't make the cover of newspapers on a daily basis anymore, it's rarely on my mind. But I will be watching the documentary by Chicago filmmakers tonight on the History Channel, 102 Minutes That Changed America. I've heard some of the audio clips and it was like reliving it all over again. I hope they don't play Melissa's tape, I don't know if I can listen to it again.

No comments: