I didn’t know that our lives had changed forever.
I returned from badminton, the only PE class I could get into as a freshman. As I had done the previous Tuesday, I quickly got ready to shower and hurry to my next class.
As I grabbed my towel, my roommate Peggy came in to tell me some terrible news. Something about a plane crash. I tuned out. Peggy was really into the news and I was just into myself.
“That’s horrible!” I said, generically, and headed for the bathroom.
In the shower, something hit me. Did she say “…hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center?”
When I came out of the shower, my roommates were glued to the TV. I tried to grasp what was going on. I vaguely remember their telling me something about another plane hitting, but I couldn’t process that. I think my brain rejected it.
I continued to get ready for class. It was only after we heard that classes were cancelled that I finally sat down in front of the news, nothing to distract me.
We all dealt with busy signals until we could get in touch with our families. For my friend Clinton, it was hours before he could get in touch with his sister in Manhattan. He made no attempt to hide his worry and my heart bled for him. She was okay.
That was 9/11. I knew it was sad. I knew a lot of people died. But for me, the next day was not unlike the other two Wednesdays that I had been at college. I didn’t know that our sense of security, our American entitlement to safety, was forever shattered. I was too young, too removed, and too self-centered. I just didn’t get it.
I get it now. I don’t know when I first got it. Maybe my first time traveling internationally? Maybe the first time I watched the reading of the names all the way through? The events in Boston have certainly helped cement it. We are not safe. We will never be safe.
Then again, I take my life into my hands every time I cross the street in New York. I trust cabdrivers to follow traffic laws and not hit me. You never know what’s going to happen. You just have to carry on. That said, I’m always about one terrorist attack away from becoming a crazy recluse.
This was the only thing I could possibly write about today, as I can’t tear my eyes and ears away from the news. Here’s to the hope that this manhunt ends as peacefully as possible.