Monday, September 11, 2006

THEY Didn't Win

I woke that morning to NPR reporting a small plane had hit the World Trade Center.

I went out to the living room, turned on NBC. Called to California to tell my mom what I was seeing. I saw the same thing as Katie Couric as the plane hit the second tower, seeing it at the same instant in different parts of the country. I called Scott at the coffeeshop, where he'd gone at 6:30 am to open up for the morning. Like Manhattan, we were having a glorious Autumn morning; clear and crisp skies.

Scott went to his office after I arrived at the shop. I had a frantic customer come in after we heard the Pentagon had been hit. Her son was there and he wasn't answering his phone. I'd had no down time for the web, so I sent an email for her to his Yahoo account. "Michael, CALL YOUR MOTHER AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS".

I started sweeping, cleaning. Hardly anyone came into the shop. I was overcome by the isolation I was feeling without any of my regular customers. NPR was had to hear due to the acoustics in the shop; the high ceilings and hardwood floor. I kept walking outside, looking at the skies.

I can't remember who came in for the afternoon shift. I was zombied by then. I went home, again turned on the news. Scott came home and I just burst into sobs. Not so much because of all that had happened but in relief that I wasn't alone anymore.

I did say, and I do remember this clearly "maybe we shouldn't have children. We wouldn't want to bring them into something like this."

Scott said, "Then THEY have won."

I still don't know who THEY are. Whoever THEY might have been, I don't want them around. Whatever the ideology, the motivation, the justification, it was wrong. Even more wrongs have been done in the name of justice; vengence following the events of five years ago. I don't know what the truth is about what transpired and I probably never will.

All I do know is that I became pregnant, whether I'd been of a mind to or not. Augusta was born, prematurely, during the week of all the post September 11 babies arriving. She is part of the small baby boom that comes from a nation of individuals tired of watching the video of the crumbling towers, the talking heads pointing fingers, the grainy video tapes of doom-happy men getting on flights with box cutters. "Armageddon Sex" is what a friend of mine that had been living in NYC called it and she said an awful lot of it had been going around in the weeks following September 11. It happened here, too.

Whoever THEY are, or were, lost. WE, those that made love and created new people, now have children that can still live their youngs lives not knowing what transpired just before their conception. These new people have started preschool. They will one day ask about why this anniversary is marked yearly and WE can all squash down the agony of seeing the buildings burn and fall, the bodies take flight from the upper, unsavable floors, and turn our love, faith and energy to continually loving these children. It is my child that will be part of the new THEY that will mature understanding her world and other cultures, struggling to make PEACE the norm and not a by-product.

I am grateful for a chance to remember this catastrophic day and know that I can, every day, work to raise children that might broker understanding with others so that no one else will have to suffer the losses that the families left behind five years ago have suffered. I am happy to hold my future close to me every day. I want to see the politicizing of the events of September 11 stop. I am very fortunate that I do not personally know anyone who perished that day. My friends that were in New York City, near the World Trade Center, were safe. My connection to September 11 is only about how I was affected and it is that information that I will impart to my children when the question about it comes. No mention of politics, blame, or who is or isn't patriotic. Sincerity and truthfulness is all that will matter.

1 comment:

kay Justad-Saffon said...

Well said, Justine. Alone now as you were then, I understand how you felt. You did have your window on the world, your computer. You continue to communicate well through it.