The ten year anniversary of 9/11…it feels weird even writing that. And even as I write it, I have no idea how to finish that sentence.
Ten years ago, I had just found out I was pregnant with G-man. My husband was at work, making coffee and selling books at a small store in our college town. I was waking up in our decrepit garage apartment, getting ready for another day of class and trying to figure out how I was going to finish my senior year of college before giving birth. Not to mention, what exactly was I going to do with a baby anyway?
I hadn’t turned on the television that morning because I was already running late. As I hopped in the car, with the fond hope of at least hitting the cafeteria before class, I was dismayed to find that my favorite radio station was playing what sounded like news…and I was in the mood for some get-up-and-go music. I quickly flipped the station, only to find that every damn station was broadcasting news. When I finally stopped my frustrated channel surfing long enough to listen, what I heard sounded more like “War of the Worlds” than a real broadcast.
I turned my car away from the university and headed straight to my husband’s job. The only way I could deal with the most enormously frightening tragedy I had ever heard was with him next to me.
The rest of the morning was a blur, and the horror I felt then was nothing compared to the images I later saw broadcasting in the university cafeteria. I saw deep sorrow, panic and utter helplessness in the faces of everyone I met that day. I think the panic was the worst. My first OB appointment was scheduled for the next day, and I needed gas for the hour drive into the city. That night, I had to wait in a line of cars at the gas station for over two hours. It made me angry, this desperate panic that had infected our small college town. I was angry at the selfishness I saw in that line, especially when we were so very far from removed from the true victims.
Louisiana is a long way from New York. And our experiences are those of distant observers, who could only watch that terrible day unfold and keep those unknown souls in our hearts and prayers.
As I reflect on that day, now decade later, I still don’t have the words. Only the prayers.