A Gift Beneath the Rubble of 9/11

I woke up alone this morning, and listened to the lovely silence of the early day, when suddenly I remembered the morning silence of 9-11. That day didn’t start out silent, because I was disconcertingly woken up by my clock radio. I was half in and half out of dreaming about airplanes crashing into buildings for about a half an hour until I realized it wasn’t a dream. I think I froze without panic. It was all so confusing. What was happening? Is this for real? Are my friends and family hearing about this?

At the time, I was living alone (for the first time) in my little studio apartment. Even with seventy-five units crammed against each other, I didn’t really know anyone in the building. Except Andrew. I called him immediately. He said, “We’re all going over to Mari’s.” trio-of-seagulls-in-flight-robert-jensenI walked for thirty minutes without a single aircraft above me. People seemed kinder. Everything was so quiet. I kept looking at the virgin sky that held nothing but birds. When I got to Mari’s house, our Group of Ten was forming: Andrew, Mari, John, Anthony, Margie, Oscar, Laura, Rob, Rachel and me. We sat close and held hands for hours as we watched the day’s broadcast. There wasn’t much discussion, just a lot of dazed confusion.

We were clear across the other side of the country that day, but as every American knows, there was no escaping 9/11 – no matter how removed one was lucky enough to be. After thirteen years, our Group of Ten has disbanded by way of geography, marriage, lifestyle, and even death. Memories keep us together.


What I remember most about 9/11, was the love and warmth and security I felt just sitting there with a group of people who just wanted to be together. Because when you strip everything else away – like the destruction of historic buildings and over 3000 lives in one (OK, four) fell swoops –  it’s the only thing that matters.