Never forget

I have been religiously watching all of the documentaries this week around the 9/11 attacks here in the US. It’s something I’ve done from the beginning and yes I believe I have probably watched some of these shows 13 years in a row. I have my favorites, I have the ones that make me sad, and occasionally like last night I see one that is either new or has escaped me. It was on NatGeo and discussed the 24 hours before the attacks, it was about regular people doing regular things the night before and how the decisions they made either kept them away from the World Trade Center or sent them to it. There was a gentleman that had been at the restaurant with a guest but was rather distracted for some reason or another and decided to cut the breakfast short, feeling bad about it he decided to ride down to the lobby with his guest and walk her out. They were on the last elevator to ever come down! There was the president of one of the Firms that was late getting to work because he decided to take his son to his first day of school, and the few that went to vote early for the election that day. I am amazed at the small decisions that made a huge impact on that day for so many. It’s funny because when you ask people where were you? The can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they found out…..watched the planes hit…..watched the towers collapse or the Pentegon. But if you ask about the day before would they be able to pull that memory up so clearly?
I can – although I didn’t realize it would be that memory at the time, honestly if it had been another day I don’t know if I would have remembered the date, other aspects of this part of my life are much fuzzier but that day is burned into my soul.
4:15pm – I had made it home a little early from work and was excited to have a few minutes to myself. The phone rang, I answered and when I got off my world had shifted a few degrees. Now I want to stop for a moment and say, no one died, or was seriously injured, I didn’t find out I had cancer. Honestly it would have been a totally banal conversation save for the betrayal – A tow truck driver was at my husbands family home and wanted to know where we wanted the car left – I told him anywhere on the east side of the street and he hung up. The betrayal was from my husband, he had bought another car, without my knowledge and paid for it to be trailered from somewhere in the midwest to his family home, in hopes of keeping me from knowing. I say another car because it was one in a long line of bad investments, in the 4 years we had been married, we had owned, numerous 60’s style VW Bugs, a 63 Impala, a 62 Impala, his “baby” a 67 Impala a few pickup trucks and countless parts cars that I had no “name” save for Chevy. We were broke, we were beyond broke we were in debt up to our eyeballs, I barely made rent each month let alone the things we needed to cover for our kids and there he was again spending money we didn’t have.
4:20pm – I called my mother and we discussed it for the umpteenth time, but this time I had decided I was done. Tears rolling down my face, sitting on my back porch, chain smoking, I told her I was finding a divorce attorney first thing in the morning. The evening was shot, there was shouting there were tears, the same argument we had, had a million times and when he walked out, I didn’t stop him. For the first time I slept alone that night and while it was fitful I slept well.
The next morning I was running late, I dropped the girls off a daycare and headed off to work, I turned on the radio as I headed on the freeway and was confused by the talk on the radio, then I heard the most terrifying thing in my life – a seasoned DJ – gasp and scream in fear and horror as the first tower fell………….

It’s funny when you look back, if you try hard enough you know can find the moment everything changed, for most on 9/11 it was when the 2nd plane hit, up to that point you could chalk it up to pilot error, but once the 2nd one hit there was no denying what was happening, from that moment on everything was different.

I decided I’d stay with my ex that following day, with all the heartache and fear in the world it was worth it to give it one more try. What it really ended up being was a slow 9 month death of our marriage and friendship, we damaged eachother, ourselves and our children (hopefully not badly for the kids – they do seem ok now). We spent more money, we lost friends we drank too much we both cheated, literally and figuratievely, and in the end he was still surprised that day in June (some random day) that things were finally over. It’s funny how some people are like that.

Years later, when we talked about it driving somewhere or another (we’re very good friends now) he told me he thought it was after the first of the year when things started to get bad and he always felt guilty about it. I smiled and said no, we were just another 9/11 tragedy, and told him the story. I made him promise that we would never forget that day together, so that we would both not make those same mistakes again with others.

where were you 9/10/2001?


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