Here Are My Memories of 9/11
We spent the previous two days at Disneyland. How better to kiss off the fake technicolor cocoon we'd been living in. (No one who lives atop the faults slashing the strata beneath Los Angeles and The Bay Area--the two areas I've lived the longest--ever truly feels safe. But the roots of natural disasters are impersonal.)
Seymour, Iz (2.5 years), Leelo (10 months), and I were visiting Seymour's Tia Izobel near Fresno, on our way back from SoCal. I was grateful that we had to leave right after breakfast, and so had to spend most of the day driving. That way we didn't have to sit with spellbound and distraught relatives who couldn't help but watch the buildings explode over and over again. I didn't want Iz exposed to any of that, as she was already a sponge, and even so by the time we left was already concerned about "those buildings that fell down."
My mom and dad spent the day moving from their house of 27 years. They didn't even know what had happened until the evening.
My younger brother's sales job put him on flight 93 at least once per month. Not that day, thankfully. But we didn't know that for a few hours.
My middle brother the pilot was thankfully not flying that day. Although the aftermath of 9/11 has been that his career, like those of so many other pilots, needed a long time to recover from the airline industry aftershocks.
My oldest brother was working at The Pentagon. Not that part, thankfully. Which, again, it took a few hours to learn. (And you know that recent car bomb in Afghanistan? Three years ago he was driving down that street every single day.)
My cousin and his family got stuck trying to get back into the United States from Canada. Their car had been broken into, all their identification had been stolen, and all the backups had been on his company's server--in one of the Twin Towers.
We are lucky. We don't know anyone who was directly affected. We don't even know any families who lost love ones. Many people on the West Coast were in the same situation, and so 9/11 became an acceptable subject for small talk. But I remember sitting next to a woman who got asked "Where were you?" after eight weeks had passed, during a manicure. Her face crumpled, and she quietly answered that she'd been getting ready for her father to come visit her infant son, whom he'd not yet met. Her father had been on that Flight 93.