posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 11:35 AM
This is proving to be much more difficult than I originally thought it would be. In fact I've tried to write this out four times already and I find
myself pushing the "recent posts" button rather than publishing each time I try.
I wish I understood why this is bothering me as much as it seems to be.
At any rate, I'll try a short version and see if that works out any better.
September of 2001 came during a horrible period in my life. A few weeks earlier I'd ended a long term relationship with somebody that I cared very
deeply for - one of those situations where two people have a ton of love and all the best intentions but, for some reason or another, it just never
clicks the way it should. I'd also just gotten laid off from a very good paying job that I enjoyed and had been at for a few years.
In August, of that year, I'd broken down and moved about sixty miles from the town I had lived in for nearly two decades. I was seeking a fresh start
- a place that wasn't filled with memories and reminders.
So when my cell phone woke me, on that September morning and I saw my ex's name on the caller ID, I almost didn't answer. I didn't want to answer.
Unfortunately I am one of those people who won't reject a phone call because I worry that I might, one day, reject an emergency call and then would
have to live with the guilt of having done so.
So, barely awake and nowhere near coherent, I pushed the little green button on my cell and took the call.
The familiar voice, on the other end of the line, was hysterical. No, beyond hysterical. She was saying that world war three had started. She was
begging me to come to her house to protect her. She was out of her mind with worry and, to me, had really lost it. I did my best to calm her down. I
spoke in a soothing voice. I told her to breathe. I rode it all out, doing my best to reassure her, and waited for her to get to a point where she
could tell me what exactly had her so worried. Finally she calmed enough to tell me "John, TURN ON THE TV!'
So I walked into my living room and did just that.
As the screen lit up and the picture began to clear I looked upon the sight of one of the Twin Towers billowing smoke, from somewhere in the buildings
middle, and caught on, somehow - maybe through a reporter, or the scrolling text, or my ex - that a plane had struck the building. That calmed me.
Planes had hit buildings before. This was something I could grasp. It was unfortunate, to be sure, but it certainly was not world war three.
My ex always turned to me to feel safe. She respects my judgment and my ability to physically protect her. In fact she still does to this day. She
trusts me. So I began to tell her that this wasn't an attack and that it was all OK.
And then I saw, on the television, a second plane hit the towers and I knew it wasn't OK.
In hindsight I honesty don't know if I saw that second plane hit "live" or if the channel I'd been watching had been showing footage from before
it happened up until that moment. Either way it doesn't change things.
In that moment, and in that realization, I felt utterly powerless. I felt impotent.
Somebody I loved was crying over the telephone in absolute terror and I couldn't find a single word to make it better. I couldn't even get my own
mind around what was happening.
I got dressed as fast as I could, grabbed my guns, jumped into my car, drove those sixty miles, and spent five or six days at my ex's house. For days
we could barely speak about anything of substance and we fell into this strange and silent existence. We were closer, and yet more distant, during
those days than any words I can muster would or could do justice to.
All these years later I still can't really get my mind around what happened that day. But I do know that I will never, ever feel that lost and
impotent again. I can't. That day stole the last of my innocence.