I’m not a morning person. Even after eleven years, I l struggle with crawling back into bed after morning drop-offs or ignoring the alarm clock altogether and burrowing deeper into the covers, especially on cool or wintry days. Yet, on this particular morning, begrudged, I answered the phone, wondering who in the world could call at such an ungodly hour. Didn’t people know my wake-up time? No earlier than noon?!
To my surprise it was my mother. She didn’t call often and she wasn’t an early bird either, so instinctively my mind told me something was wrong. That part is a long story but involves a drunk lady, a car, my challenged cousin, whom stoned-lady had on top of the car holding down a mattress, and a hospital. Cousin’s injuries were many, his diagnosis not so good.
Minutes later, as I lay in bed, someone knocked on the door. It was a repairman. He informed me he’d come to fix my leaky faucet. Finally! I thought. I let him in, opened the curtains, realized what a gorgeous day it was. If only I could wake before noon every morning, I thought to myself. I even opened the windows, took in the breeze signaling the imminent change of seasons. While fix-it -guy tinkered with the sink, I switched on the television. That story too is long, painful, and all too familiar to us. It involves an anchorman, several planes, and two iconic towers.
I watched as the newsman reported a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Gosh, I reasoned, that’s crazy! And, as my mind often does, I imagined the people on that plane and what must have gone through their minds as things went haywire. What were they thinking; what did their prayers consist of; who did they call, if anyone?
But then, shortly after, another plane. I froze. Mouth open. Thoughts churning. Something wasn’t right with the scenario. At all. I didn’t understand how and why it seemed to just…aim for the building, almost as if on purpose.
Fix-it guy stepped into the room. He too stood there. Mouth open. As news continued to develop, we learned of another plane; and I knew, maybe we all knew then, that some strange ish was going down. As networks replayed footage throughout the day, my heart just…I don’t know, I can’t describe it, even now. People–jumping., running, crying, in a daze, in a state of disbelief?
I went to work. The city went wild. There were rumors of gas prices sky-rocketing so nearly everyone in the small town where I live was at a pump. Of course my car sat on empty. I didn’t even try to get gas; that was the least of my concerns. What did concern me was our future. And, vain as it was, I wondered if I would get to see my upcoming birthday. Would any of us live to see our birthdays?
That night, I snuggled closer to my boyfriend, listening for the sound of planes overhead, even though all flights were restricted. I closed my eyes and knew that something significantly changed that day. Mind-sets changed, the world changed…and hasn’t been the same since.
What were you doing on that fateful morning?
What were your thoughts?
Do you feel the events of that year changed how we think, live, react?
If so, how?
Here is a reader’s take on that day:
Barbara Ann Divine
September 11, 2001
On this day I woke up a lot later than I do now. I had no kids, no husband, and I actually got sleep. I was living at home and my sister and her kids lived next door. I walked up to her house and for some reason I was alone. I turned on the tv to see that the world was finally coming to an end.
I used to think my grandmother was crazy. She always said it was gonna happen. That people would finally get crazy enough to pull something like that. She said, “Girl you better know how to grow your own food and live out in the woods. ” Now I believe her way more than I did then.
I watched just a few people, with hate filled hearts, destroy thousands of lives in minutes. I watched towers fall, and you knew that people were jumping. People covered in ash were running for their lives and ducking into stores in hope that the ash would not follow and kill them. Blood, firefighters, flags, these images would still haunt us today.
I went into my dead end job that afternoon in shock and everyone was talking about it. We all still talk about it and, for those who watched it through a tv screen, were scarred from it. Could you imagine living it? Even now when I hear a plane in the sky I duck and wait. I won’t fly, and never plan to. This is now the state of my world.
I don’t plan for it to get better, and for us that believe in a certain God….one day it will have to get worse for it to get better.
“Ooh, my turn; my turn.” I quickly raise my hand for the free massage my co-worker is giving away in the break room. And she’s really good. I suggest she get certified and knead necks and shoulders for a living; she says she’s been thinking about it.
Anyway, there’s one problem. She keeps telling me to relax. I shrug and say in what I’ve been told is one of the most soft-spoken voices ever, “But I am relaxed; this is as calm as it gets.”
She shakes her head. “You’re extremely tense, all in your arms.” Then she looks at me and asks, “You sure you’re relaxed, because I see a bulging vein on the side of your head. You grind your teeth, too, don’t you?”
How does she know! The dentist has chiseled me FOUR times already. And I don’t even realize I clench and grind.
I sit there, speechless. I mean, three nurses and a doctor said the same thing prior to a surgery. I went in, as calm as I knew how on a level 9 of pain, and the first thing dude suggested was Valium.
Two Valium later, I was still awake, still crying (softly mind you, not boo-hooing), and still asking questions. By the time they wheeled me into OR, a tech said, “We’ve got a nervous one here.”
Excuse me but I was NOT nervous.
I simply laid on the gurney, crying softly. Who wouldn’t upon their first major surgery. (My past c-section doesn’t count because I blacked out and wouldn’t have known heaven from earth if asked.)
Anyway, I’m reminded to chill all the time, even when I’m not verbally saying anything, even when I’m oblivious to the cues and clues that I’m not…chilling.
What does that word mean–relax? Maybe I should look it up, or take a class. I mean, I never raise my voice; I never outwardly panic; I rarely get angry…I’m calm, right? Isn’t calm the same as relaxed?
* WHAT IS YOUR OPINION. HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE TWO?
Because sometimes you want to connect to someone and something
you want empathy, not sympathy
you want to be understood and understand
that we’re all different, yet all the same…
there’s been so much talk about journals the last couple of days that I decided to rummage through a few of mine–both hard copy and via livejournal. wow, sometimes we forget where our thoughts and feelings led us once. thank goodness for these snippets of our lives to help us remember.