Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunrise: 6:55am

Urban had an appointment on the 80th floor of the South Tower at 8am on September 11th, 2001.

I was going to tag along (to NYC & the Twin Towers) and take a tour of the building. On September 8th, the overseas colleague he was scheduled to meet got sick and said he was unable to make the trip. Everything was cancelled. No NYC, no tour, no visiting friends, nothing. I remember we were both quite irritated. Urban ran his own business and last-minute, out-of-state cancellations cost us money. It was nobody’s fault.

We had planned to be away, so we went to Wisconsin instead. We were at The House on the Rock when we heard the news. Now, if you’ve ever been to The House on the Rock, you can imagine what that must have been like. If you’ve never been there, I’m not even going to try and explain. Maybe another time.

Anyway, we made it back to our hotel and sat horrified in front of the TV with the rest of the nation. It was many hours before either of us remembered where we had originally planned to be that morning. I can still feel the look on my face.

9/11 tore a hole in the world. I don’t know why I’m here to peer through from this side. I can’t believe that “someone was looking out for me.” That implies that someone was not looking out for the thousands of people who died. The thousands of people that we watched die. I just don’t believe that The Great Whatever is a micromanager, or maybe any kind of manager at all. I also don’t (like to) believe that my entire existence is mere chance. Some guy in Japan got the flu. I got to live.

We all remember where we were. We don’t often get the opportunity to remember where we weren’t. Life is unfathomable. We never know where it will end (up).

One thing is sure...every 9/11 around 6am, having been awake all night remembering, wondering and praying in my own weird way, the sun will come up and the sight of that rising light, the re-brightening of our world, will make me burst into tears. 

I search for words I don't have…and feel the life that I do.


  1. It's surreal every time I try to think about. We have so many friends in NYC, and everybody knows somebody who's lost someone. I feel for everyone's loss.

    This day always has a double meaning for me, being my dad's birthday as well. I always had trouble remembering his birthday before the event, was in 9/9 or 9/13 -- afterward I always knew, 9/11. Now he's gone too.

    Loss is tough. It's a powerful emotion. It's sad that people could do this, hurt so many all at once. I sincerely hope they can do something with the spot. Something meaningful for all of us.

    I feel for your tears.

  2. this is a very moving post. i feel the same way. i could never credit my luck to a micromanager god, because what about the unlucky ones? life is so fleeting and precious. but i am thankful that i've been lucky so far.

  3. I give thanks every day for the life I have and for the life of those I love. It's so short, so precious, I don't waste a minute of it. Perhaps those who went into the light that day chose on some level to do so. They went for us, to remind of us of what we have. We have been lazy and unfulfilled in our lives. Or at least I was until then. I lost three friends to the Towers. Every year, I light a candle for them. And every year I remember them, I say their names and I thank them. Because of them, I went to Haiti and became a mambo. And so I give thanks on this day of remembrance. Thanks for reminding me of how precious life is, and for urging me to try and make the world a better place.