A few days before the 14th anniversary of 9/11 my husband, twin sister, and I were vacationing at Lake George in the Adirondacks, land of blue skies and green mountains.
We were with a group of friends who were also enjoying the peaceful beauty of the north end of Lake George. We had finished a dinner of steak and sausages, salad, sweet corn, and key lime pie for dessert. One of the women had shared the unusual but entertaining story of courtship with her now husband. “I didn’t even really like him at first. But then he was always around and we started having fun.” We all laughed. The evening was warm, stars out, soft lights from the old-fashioned lamps on the walls.
“Can you believe it’s September already?” Not an unusual start of a conversation.
“Yeah, almost September 11.” Pause.
“We were up here on 9/11,” my husband remarked. I remembered. I had been doing my yoga practice on the porch of our rented cottage when the owner of the house nearby walked out of the woods and came up to our door.
“I guess you didn’t hear what just happened.” He didn’t sound excited or emotional. In fact, his voice was kind of flat. Is he joking around?
Still in downward facing dog pose. “Okay, what happened?”
“The World Trade Center was just bombed.”
What? I had never gotten any face-to-face news like that in my life. We raced to the TV hoping for reception. And saw it, heard it, even felt it–in my stomach, my heart, and my legs, which felt like rubber. Two hundred miles away, and yet right there. Then the TV image of the second tower falling, collapsing, almost in slow motion.
“I would have been taking the Path if we weren’t up here,” my sister said.
“We were away too,” someone else said.
“We were at work,” said C and J. That’s right. We all knew they worked down near City Hall. And remembered them telling us later of walking for miles to get uptown, covered in ashes.
“We lived down there,” said F. Another frightening connection. It was weeks before he and J could get back into their apartment. When they did, it was too painful to stay. They sold their condo and moved to New Jersey.
But that night a few days before the 14th anniversary of 9/11, all of us were sitting in a warmly-lit comfortable room, able to remember. A long pause. We remember those who are gone.