Saturday, September 11, 2010

At Home on 9/11

This morning, I'm up at 9:00.  I throw on running clothes, grab a bowl of raisin bran, and head for Battery Park City, along the western shore of Lower Manhattan.  It's only a couple of blocks from my new place in Tribeca, and it's a hot spot for runners, roller-bladers, and moms with jogging strollers.  I'm running, but I'm still half-asleep.

It takes me a few minutes to realize what today really means.  Nine years ago today, my mom called me downstairs from brushing my teeth before school to watch the news on our tiny black-and-white TV--the only one picking up a signal at the time.  I'll never forget that day.  I was thirteen, and I couldn't understand how humans could be capable of something so horrendous as flying commercial jets into skyscrapers.

It's been nine years, and I still remember that cold, lead-weight feeling that settled in the bottom of my stomach as hot tears stained my cheeks.  And the feeling comes back every so often, especially on days like today.

This is my first 9/11 anniversary in New York City.  From where I'm running, I have a view of Ellis Island and Lady Liberty.  Just inside the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, there's a grand staircase leading up to a wall of glass.  I stop in along my run, and through the windows, I can see the progress being made at Ground Zero.  The 9/11 Memorial is in construction, and even on a Saturday morning, there are workers buzzing around to complete their work on time.  I stand with my face to the glass, one of a long stretch of onlookers, and turn my head to the gaping hole in the sky.  It's a gorgeous stretch of sun-kissed blue.  But it's one of the saddest things in New York.  Because we're not supposed to see the sky.

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