I heard on public radio the other day a call for people to phone in and describe where they were when they first heard about 911 so they could replay their messages for the world to hear today on this tenth anniversary. Of course it made me remember that awful day too as in my mind, my personal tragedy is now forever connected to our national one. It was a sad day to begin with as I was in the last stage of those awkward days of a dying marriage. Our house had been sold recently and so it was in full deconstruction mode as my soon to be ex-wife was in the kitchen dividing up our possessions. It was early, 6:30 or so when her sister called and told us something awful had happened and to turn on the TV. We saw the first tower had been hit and soon after that we saw the second plane crash into the remaining tower. I was speechless and watching in disbelief -totally absorbed. I know my wife was talking but I was unable to take my attention from the television. I began to tear up, all that suffering and pain being broadcast live, what on earth was this new kind of evil? I knew the world had changed.

After a few hours I finally gathered my self up and drove in to work in a kind of shock and replayed in my mind, the towers going down, when I was struck with the thought that this was a metaphor of our marriage. Two structures were struck down never to be a united body again. I was really out of sorts when I got to my office but so was the whole company. The television in the meeting room was on and most everyone was in there still shaking their heads in disbelief. I eventually got to my desk where I served as art director. I was greeted by a certain middle manager marketing person’s memo only a few minutes old giving me another meaningless change to do for her ASAP on a job that had already been tortured beyond taste and deadline. She was often aggressive and rude to me so I went back to her office where she seemed to be the only person in the building not affected by what was going on in New York and I lost my composure and all the emotion I had contained through my divorce, this manager’s insipid badgering  and the horror of the morning came out in an embarrassing display of verbal chaos and hostility. Later in the day I admitted I had done wrong and apologized to her but she had the ammo she needed and knew what to do with it.

I never really recovered. I just kind of gave up on everything I found it hard to focus and started taking each day one step at a time. I rented a room for rent a week later where I still live today and I work as a freelance graphic designer in a small studio I share with friends. I now work harder and longer hours than ever before that horrible day. I still have trouble thinking about it and avoid the retelling that always pops up on TV and radio at the beginning of every September since then. The mass destruction and untold suffering of that day’s events are really hard to grapple with, I can’t imagine the horror those people went through in their last hour and it all reminds me of my own personal failures. We are a different people now.  Ten years ago today the world changed, and it still hurts.



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