Thursday, September 15, 2016

Today. And a day not-so-long ago.

The last time the weather in New York was as beautiful as the weather today, might have been fifteen years ago, on September 11th, 2001.

Then and today after a nasty hot sticky summer, the air has a chill in it. If I were a ballplayer, I'd wear a 3/4-sleeve undershirt beneath my flannels and I'd bring my warm-up windbreaker to the bench with me.

The sun is bright, like the sunshine you'd feel on a mountaintop in Italy. The sky is a perfect azure and there's barely a wisp anywhere of cloud. The breeze is like a lover's whisper in your ear, telling you things you want to believe late at night in bed.

My post-traumatic-stress from that horrible day 15 years ago is attaching to every breathtakingly-beautiful day my memories of that breathtakingly-terrible day.

My daughters were in school and my eldest called me on her cell (she was 14.)

"Dad, Katya's father works in the World Trade Center."

I ran from my office and unable to get a taxi, ran/walked to their school, four miles away.

The kids were all waiting in the gymnasium--waiting for parents or baby-sitters to take them home. Some kids from the outer-boroughs had no one who could pick them up. Trains and buses weren't running.

Like the Pied Piper I led a dozen ponytails home to my apartment one block from school. I put something 1950s and cheerful and Disney'd on the TV in the living-room and pulled out the queen-sized sofabed.

The girls laughed and giggled and plotted and girled as only girls can do. I listened to the news but only in my bedroom where the kids couldn't hear.

My wife arrived home with some friends from her office who were stranded. 

We made phone calls to loved ones and pulled out beds and made a giant dinner of spaghetti and meatballs and ice cream for dessert.

I tried to keep a small bit of innocence alive in the world for just a little bit longer. I wasn't about to let anyone under the age of 18 watch the news or hear the radio.

Sometimes that's what I remember when the sky is blue, the air is clear and there's the tiniest bit of autumn in the air.

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