Monday, September 11, 2006

The Day I Wasn't There

What I remember most about September 11, 2001 is that I wasn't there. My mother and sisters were in lower Manhattan and I was miles away, emotionally as well as physically. It is difficult even to imagine my sisters' panic as they fled from the rubble, or my mother's terror, not knowing where they were. For my own part, I don't remember feeling anything as I dialed their number again and again, coldly contemplating the unthinkable. This was probably what they call a "defense mechanism," but I'll never know for sure. All that I know is that I wasn't with them, and I should have been.

6 comments:

fleurdelis28 said...

I remember being very relieved to hear that you weren't there, and that your family were also all okay.

Meredith said...

As the one who sat watching you dial the phone... you felt a lot, and probably just blacked the memory out.

What I remember most (after realizing that it wasn't a radio stunt) was a few days later, when you told me that your sisters had asked you to come home for RH because they'd been so afraid that they would never see you again.

elf said...

I remember being very relieved to hear that you weren't there, and that your family were also all okay.

:-)

As the one who sat watching you dial the phone... you felt a lot, and probably just blacked the memory out.

Maybe. Now that you mention it, I do remember panicking, but I don't really remember feeling frightened. But maybe I was. The more I try to remember, the less clear it all seems.

What I remember most (after realizing that it wasn't a radio stunt) was a few days later, when you told me that your sisters had asked you to come home for RH because they'd been so afraid that they would never see you again.

Yes, my most vivid memory is Middle Sister's voice on the answering machine pleading with me to come home. The week before I had been all excited about our little Rosh Hashanah together in our suite, but when I heard that message I knew that I had to leave, and I immediately started calling people, trying to get a ride to New York.

It wasn't until I heard that message that I cried.

muse said...

Surviving doesn't mean untouched.

Meredith said...

It wasn't until I heard that message that I cried.

One of the things I feel guiltiest for in this life is that, five years later, I have yet to shed a tear . . .

elf said...

One of the blocks of text that I removed had to do with my misgivings about why I cried. I know that it had to do with hearing my sister crying on the phone, and probably also with horemones. I've never cried in response to a tragedy, however massive, that didn't directly affect anyone I knew. I suspect that this is normal. There has to be a limit to our capacity for empathy if we are to get through life without being constantly depressed.

I'm sure that you were as shocked and saddened by the events of 9/11 as anyone in your position would be.