Today Was Hard

Doves. Lost Souls. Windows down, driving up HI 72. Hawaii Kai through Waimanalo to Kaneohe. Full moon rising over the Pacific at dusk. A beautiful ending to a somber day.

I think back to where I was ten years ago. Who I was. How I was. Clueless on that morning as I rode my bike from the bottom of Beacon Hill over to Charlestown for rehearsal. I was stage managing an opera, gaining experience in the field so as to warrant a pending promotion at Boston Blue Man. The company had rented rehearsal space at the Navy Yard and when I arrived the uniformed guard at the gate was waving at me frantically.

He yelled something about terror alert level red and the twin towers. Go home, no one was allowed through. I thought he was crazy and tried to walk past him. We confused each other. He couldn’t fathom how I could not know what was going on. I couldn’t fathom how what he was saying could actually be true.

I got back on my bike and pedaled home, annoyed mostly at the glitch this put in my day. What was he talking about anyway?

It wasn’t until I went to my friend Drew’s apartment two floors below mine that it started to sink in. Drew had a TV, which I did not, and by ten AM the devastation was already on repeat. We sat in horror and watched the first plane crash and explode into the World Trade Center over and over and over again. Within the first hour we saw it at least two hundred times from ten different angles.

Hours later on the phone to my sister who was in Peace Corps in West Africa at the time, I experienced the same frustration the guard had with me. No matter how many times I explained it, she simply could not put together what I was saying.

“What do you mean the twin towers collapsed?”

“Planes crashed into them!”

“But like they fell over?”

“Yes! They’re no longer standing! Thousands of people are dead!”

“What are you talking about? Where did the planes come from?”

“They flew out of Logan and were hijacked by suicide bombers who forced the pilots to fly into the World Trade Center. There might be terrorists in Boston right now!”

“Jenny, that doesn’t make any sense. Those buildings are too big to just fall down from one plane crashing into them anyway.”

She had no visual and it wasn’t adding up. Explaining over the phone to someone thousands of miles away that people were jumping to their death from a skyscraper in New York City because there was absolutely no hope of rescue was futile. We, as a country, didn’t understand that sort of thing. But eventually everyone in the world saw the video and it all started sinking in.

I wish I was in New York today. I wish I was on the east coast close to friends and family. I wish I could see the memorial. I wish I could say the world has improved since that tragedy.

The somberness of today sunk me down lower than I expected. I’ll admit I became a little overcome by the sadness and even wallowed in self-pity for a minute or two. But those minutes have passed and I am again thankful to be safe and healthy.

Much love to anyone who was directly affected by the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Much love to everyone in the whole world. Focused energy towards peace and understanding. Be well and take good care.

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