I still think about it every time a plane flies low overhead, casting a quick shadow over my house. Sometimes just the noise of a plane approaching will jar my memory.
I still think about it when I look at the New York City skyline.
I still think about it when I see my father in his firefighter dress uniform.
I still think about it daily, but it's only when reminders like a perfect pre-autumn day or the roar of a jet engine kick up the dust where I store all those memories. It's not there, right out front any more. And when I do think about it, the thoughts are fleeting, sometimes lasting only seconds. It's not like it used to be, when the mere sight of an airplane could send me into a tailspin. It's not like it used to be, where just mentioning it could make me spend the rest of the day talking, writing, emoting about it.
I think that's a good thing, no? Time marches on, as do our lives. Just because you don't think about it as often doesn't mean you don't remember.
I dreamed last night about firemen and burning buildings and memorials. So it's there, it's all there saved and stored, but put away in place that only comes alive when dreamed about, or when disturbed by a perfect blue sky or a glimpse of the city from the view of a bridge. That's good, I tell myself.
But sometimes you do want to think about it. You can't help it. When the sky is the same and the date is the same and maybe you read someone else's words about it and it comes back, you want to remember, for some reason. Because you have to. Or you read your own words, and it comes back and you remember, because you have to:
The thing I remember most about the early part of that day is the weather. It was a perfect day; the sky was a deep, cloudless blue and the air was filled with the comforting warmth that comes when summer starts slinking into autumn.
What I remember most about the moments after the news broke was my drive home from work. I fled my federal office building in a panic that day, still not sure if more attacks were coming, if they were happening elsewhere, if the world was ending. I drove east, towards my home, but kept looking back in my rear view mirror at the brown, smoky haze filling the sky. My hands were shaking and tears were streaming down my face and I was frightened, so frightened, because we didn't know. We did not know what would come next, or if that was the end. I looked at every car that drove next to me, at every other driver at the stop lights. They were all crying or wide-eyed or clutching their steering wheel so hard I could see their knuckles turning white.When I got home, I woke Justin, who was still sleeping after spending all night working on a project. In my fear and disbelief, I blurted out something like, wake up the world is ending, and we turned on the television and stared for hours and I just remember this numbness going through me, the goosebumps of fear and horror that rose on my arms.
Isn't that funny that it's the weather I remember more than anything? The absolute perfection of that day. The way the sky looked, the way the sun felt, the way the breeze blew, the temperature, the shape of the clouds. It's like a curse, that every day of perfection like that, I should think of this.
I've finished putting up my archives online. There's more, but this is as much as I felt like rehashing.