Thursday, September 11, 2008

I remember

I feel fuzzy today. It's a gray quiet day outside and online I've been reading 9/11 postings that bring me back over and over again.

It was so quiet.

I had walked onto campus and was sitting and reading on the steps of the speech team office, which was housed in the grad student wing of old barrack-style dorms that had been converted into the Communication Department's building.
It was beautiful out.

Matt, the grad student who had the office next to ours, walked up and told me. I went upstairs and reloaded over and over, until the towers collapsed.

I went back downstairs and sat on the steps. I didn't know what to do.
My coach walked up and I said "Did you hear?"
I suppose I will always be a part of his memory of that day.

We sat and listened to the radio. For weeks, everything I heard seemed like it had the same scratchy static white noise wrapped around it.

I tried calling my aunt who worked near the towers, my sister who drove past the Pentagon every day. I tried calling my best friend.

I don't remember when I finally got a hold of everyone or what we said, except that my sister had seen the smoke, had just left her house. That everyone was alive.

The next weeks were so quiet. Fighter planes zipped over our heads and the world hung awkwardly off its axis. My friend M and I sat and watched Bill O'Reilly because she was writing about him and he started talking about Bloomington, Indiana, "that hotbed of terrorism."

Strangely, and a bit sadly, it was a return to at least a small part of normalcy, where we yelled at conservative talking heads instead of just crying.


  1. I know exactly where you were, Io, and I remember those fighter planes, chasing down an errant Cesna breaking the flight ban.

    I remember laughing in my friend's face when he told me to turn on the radio...

  2. i was standing on the street in front of an elementary school (polling place) in a poor community in the bronx, ny. it was primary day in ny and i was out with friends organizing for independent political candidates.

    it was hours before we understood what had happened and many many more before i saw anything on tv. the office i normally worked out of (had i not taken the day off to organize) was just above canal street (about 15 blocks from WTC) and was evacuated and remained evacuated for about a week and then for months was right above the no-go zone... full of bad air, pained looking workers, people pulling together to help and scary military personnel with automatic weapons.

    for me, being out in the bronx with my friends and comrades (there were about 30 of us all over the bronx) when this all went down, i never felt alone, and while getting home was a 10 hour ordeal, i felt safe.

    i never could bring myself to watch the coverage on tv, i turned it off then and every anniversary when it dominated the tvs. i feel so lucky that i did not relive it over and over in the way my friends who watched did... i think it caused a lot of PTS. i made a concerted effort to avoid coverage - not because i didn't want to know what happened, but because i was acutely AWARE of what had happened... and yet, it felt weird that this year it passed with almost no direct mention that i came in contact with (other than your post, which i was not ready to respond to yesterday) and brief mention of the ceremony happening at the old WTC site.

    like many nyers, i knew people who were there, should have been there had they not been late, or just changed office locations. my sadness at their loss was and is real. i am not sure what it is that has allowed me not to be devastated in the ways so many i know were and are still struggling with... who knows why things shake out the way they do...

    sorry for my response that is almost as long as your post... it just got me thinking.

  3. I love the descriptions you used here. "...the world hung awkwardly off its axis." That about sums it up.