Like anybody could forget. September 11 will always be synonymous with that day.
That day my four year old began ballet in pink tights and a waterfall of hair on her head in a basement studio with other little girls and parents with ashen, confused faces. What had just happened? Watching those little feet turn out, learn to stand in straight lines, allowed those of us watching one more moment to pretend that this day was like any other.
It was not.
And neither were the weeks that followed. Shock, fear and horror filled the air around all of us. Still 10 years later I can remember how it made me feel, as well as I remember one minute ago. That day when I thought I might have lost a cousin (I did not and am grateful for that every year, even though he is such a smart ass!!!!!) That day when innocence went on a permanent sabbatical.
The world changed on that crisp blue sky, perfectly perfect fall day. But I believe still, that there is more good than bad in the world. Even after that day and so many other unspeakable days. I will continue to believe that. More good than bad. Which is something Al Queda or Isis can ever take away.
It was one of those beautiful September days that makes you realize that summer in New England really is three months long and that if we didn’t have school, we could still be at the beach. Blue, blue skies, a perfect temperature. My friend Toni (yes, I have a friend that’s also named Toni. Yes, I know that’s absurd.) and I were walking around the reservoir discussing the fact that she’d just lost her job. I got into my car and listened to my voicemail. I had NPR on in the background with 1/4 of an ear listening to it. I called Peter to tell him he needed to pick up one of the kids on some certain day, because my voicemail had just informed me of an appointment I had not written down. (When would I fully make the successful switch from a paper date book to my phone?) The words “fire” and “Pentagon” made their way into my brain during the conversation, only a small part of what the radio was saying. I asked Peter nonchalantly if something had happened at the Pentagon, as I walked into the house and switched on the tv and he went to the New York Times online. Tower one was on fire. I didn’t quite understand what my eyes were seeing. Wow, was that a misguided plane that had bumped into one of the Twin Towers, I wondered. And then, Peter said, no, it was intentional. And then the tower fell. And then I panicked and then I cried. And then I asked Peter if we should get the kids from school. And then he said he’d be right home on his bike. And then I called my friend Marie to see what to do with the kids and she’d called the school and they said they were safest staying put. And then I called my cousin Bob because my cousin Ed was in the building. He worked in one of the Towers. It was busy. Then I called my friend Deb, who lived in Manhattan and it was also busy. I just kept calling and calling both numbers frantically. I finally got Deb. She and her partner were safe and she asked me to call another friend to tell them she was safe because the lines were crazy. Then I finally got my cousin Bob and he told me Ed was safe. And then I cried, glued to the tv, realizing this was a terrorist act, realizing we’d been attacked on our own soil, realizing it might not be over yet.
We picked up the kids at school. Jake wondered why we weren’t letting him go to the after school program. We told him little and dragged him to Ally’s first day of ballet class at Ms. Mutch’s ballet school. There, shocked parents sat watching four year old’s in pink tights and blue leotards walk around a mirrored room. It was the last bit of innocence I’d feel for a while.
I was shaken and stirred by 9/11 and so was my husband. We felt rocked to the core in a way that neither of us expected. The world was ok. And then it wasn’t.
Grateful that my cousins Ed, who saw too much, made it out alive that day. I will never forget that day a decade ago. Never look at the sky or a tall building the same way again. Never. Forget. It.