Monday, September 11, 2006

Today

Ali Edwards got me remembering. The morning of September 11th, 2001 I had woken up excruciatingly early to go to the gym. I was a sophomore college student who did that sort of thing because it gave me some time with some of my guy friends where I wasn't competing with a hoard of other girlies to get a word in edgewise. Such were my thoughts as I headed out into the chilly dark. Generally speaking I am not a morning person, and especially as a college student I was not a morning person. I was working a graveyard 12-6 shift for the college TV station 3 nights a week. The fact that I was awake that morning is a pretty powerful coincidence.
My goal for the morning was to run 2 miles and then work my arms. Just as I was finishing my run all the TV screens across the top of the wall flashed from their various programs to a breaking news story. I didn't have headphones on, so I missed the gist and severity of what was going on. I could just read the running CNN comentary on the bottom of most of the screens.
Some part of my brain discounted what was going on. I had no concept in my head of how many people were being affected. I moved over to the weight area of the gym, people were starting to congregate to the TVs, but I could still see them.
I saw the second plane hit. I'm sure millions of other people saw it too, but for me it hit me like a ton of bricks and woke me right up. One plane could be a coincidence, an accident, but two could not.
The next thing I remember I was back at my apartment, frantically waking up my roommates. Their first memory of 9/11 is probably of me being hysterical and dragging them from comfortable sleep to a very uncomfortable new day. We all crouched around our TV in the living room, glued to the screen as though it were our only source of oxygen. Then I went to class while they chose to stay home. I felt a distinct need for normalcy. It's probably better for me that way. I missed seeing people jumping, and I missed seeing the towers collapse. I had enough images seared into my brain for one morning. It was enough to take away what was left of my childlike ignorance of what people are capable of conceiving.
There was a permanent sadness instilled in me that morning. But I wasn't afraid. I guess I had enough faith to be sad but not afraid.
Luckily a very insightful professor decided it was appropriate to bump up the viewing of The Man Who Planted Trees, it was scheduled for the existentialism section at the end of the semester. Who knew a little illustrated film could administer so much peace? Everyone should see it. It has a terribly poignant moment when it points out that man's power to create is as great as his power to destroy. Very humbling.
So now I live everyday aware that there are people who choose to be consumed by hate, and I am eternally grateful I'm not one of them. Aren't we all a bit more grown-up than we were?

1 comment:

Lacey said...

emily, i totally remember 9/11, when you came into my room saying we were being attacked. i freaked out and thought you meant here in utah, then you explained what you meant and i was glued to the tv for the rest of the day. i love your story and the way you write is beautiful. i love the pictures of you baby, he is so freakin' addorable! look at all that hair!
i am so excited for your adventure in pennsylvania. i am jealous actually! anyway so good to hear from you!

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