I am going to do today what everyone else is doing. Remembering, recounting, reconnoitering. I know I’ve written about my experience before somewhere on this blog but i am not going to dig it up.
I was working at the federal building in indianapolis. Came in through the security that was the result of bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building six years before. Interesting very personal note: I interviewed for the federal job on the year anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing and was impressed that there was sorrow and remembrance in the Indy fed building on that day. Even in a year, so many others had forgotten.
I walked through security which was manned by Vinnie, an ex-cop, ex-NYCer. We have bonded over our shared NY experiences. He told me about the first plane and we were both sure that it was a mistake, a terrible accident but nothing more.
I spent most of the morning in the chambers of the judge which was down the hall from my office. He had the tv. We stood watching although there were plenty of seats. The judge said that he thought one of the towers would come down, and I was very strong in my denial. No. Never. It couldn’t happen. Weren’t those buildings built to withstand winds and storms. And then it fell.
David worked in the South Tower. For years. Before law school. Word processing nights at a law firm. His short story about that work, that place was published in a literary magazine. Nebraska Review? Maybe.
New York is my city, and I walked around in stunned silence for days. Not able to take in what happened. I watched like everyone else and I never so much missed the city as I did in those days. How could I ever be so far away when so many needed so much.
And it struck me this morning as I looked at all the memorial headlines, that I did not feel that way again. That shock. That complete sorrow. That loss of innocence. That loss of smugness that we all carried around. I did not feel that way again until last year when David died. Maybe it is shallow of me to compare a great national tragedy to my own personal loss, but honestly, I am surprised that it does feel the same. Such is and was my depth of love and care for the city that one might say ate me up and spit me out. The city of so many struggles for David and I, the city that we came home to after Italy and knew was our home. The only place that stretched us and made me whole.
Until 2001, NYC was a place that we could dream of coming home to, at some time in the future, when we had jobs and security. It is ironic to think along these lines right now. When David decided to make the move from Indy, the two jobs for clerk that were open were the one here in Madison and a job in Brooklyn. We had discussed both extensively. We decided to take the first one that came up and not look back. Madison called first and offered first, but Brooklyn did call, later that spring, before David started the Madison job. Knowing that nothing about David’s health could have changed no matter where we were, it is interesting to wonder what it would have been like had I been left a widow in Brooklyn.
Not better or worse. Somewhat different. And what I want to do right now is to go to the botanical gardens and walk around before Julia has therapy. I would have done the same in Brooklyn.