September 10th: The Day We Always Forget

September 10, 2012

Today is a regular day.

Wake up.
Drink water.
Brush teeth.
Eat breakfast.
Leave house.
Go to work.
See friends.
Make plans.
Come home.
Hang out.
Go to sleep.

Today is a regular day… except that today is the day before September 11.

I’ve written about September 11. I’ve talked about it, been choked up about it, thought about it, cried about it, accepted it, never forgotten it. I lived it and It lives with me.

And though I’ve never written about this day before, about September 10, I’ve often thought a lot about it – about how it was the last day that I could ever again in my life think that the worst couldn’t happen to me because the fact of the matter is and always will be that the worst can happen to anyone.

There isn’t a month better than September. In fact, when I was pregnant with Rafaella, I had secretly hoped that she would come a week early so that she would be born in September. The cooler weather, the flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon, the neutral colors turned from summer bold to autumn warm, the feeling of the promise of the beginning of the year; I have always adored September. And for me, there was no better place than Autumn in New York City… well except maybe Christmas in New York City.

I tell you this not so that you understand my love for September but so that you understand my innocent and young mindset on September 10.

I had just started another year of college, my last year of college. I had spent the week moving into the best city in the world to a new apartment with good friends – best friends. In fact, tomorrow – Tuesday, the 11th – would complete my first week of classes. But how could I have known on a regular Monday, that that would not happen. Looking back, I could film it as one of those scenes a movie where the director’s camera follows the young, unsuspecting actress pedaling her bike down the same familiar roads she always bikes down. With that certain kind of music playing, you know something is about to happen but the actress, well, how could she have any idea that in only a few moments, life as she knew it would never be the same. There is no warning because there is no dark alley or loud noise. She doesn’t know to be careful because the sky is blue and the day is just like any regular day.

That night, I went to my friend’s apartment. As the Resident Assistant of West Street, she was on duty that night. So I went to her apartment to have some wine and catch up. It got late. She asked to stay over. I don’t know why I didn’t. Normally, I’d have said yes. But it was September and the night was beautiful out. I’ll walk home, I told her. I walked home and slept soundly in my bed until the next morning. That’s what I remember about September 10th.

The next morning, the windows at most of those West Street apartments had blown in from the explosion of the first tower. Only a few blocks away from my own apartment, where I had been the night before drinking wine, people were taking showers and starting their normal morning routine only to walk out of the bathroom and into a smoke filled living room.

But on September 10th, the days were still normal. On September 10th, a rumble was just a rumble and not a cement and steal dragon crashing straight into the ground. On September 10th, smoke was what filled Ryan’s Pub every Thursday night and not what turned our perfectly blue skies into dark night within moments of a tower falling to its grave. On September 10th, life as I knew it was still normal.

Today is a regular day.

Wake up.
Drink water.
Brush teeth.
Eat breakfast.
Leave house.
Go to work.
See friends.
Make plans.
Come home.
Hang out.
Go to sleep.
Except for, of course, that today, 11 years ago, was the day before September 11.

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