Where were you?
What were you doing that morning?
What was your life like before that day, because I promise you, even if you may not know it, your life was changed.
Our kids had gone off to school.
My husband had promised to be home early.
I had taken the day off to pack for our first cruise (with tickets to Miami the next morning) and was getting ready to go to an Amish wedding. I am not kidding.
I had turned a morning talk/news show on in the kitchen.
Are they kidding?
Are they filming a movie in real time?
Am I seeing this? What’s with that plane flying so low?
“We interupt your programming to bring you breaking local news. There is an unresponsive plane flying over Cleveland. Authorites do not know if this is related to incoming reports of an air attack in New York.”
What the fuck is going on?…. the kids.
“Get home. They’ve locked down the school. I’m sneaking up through the woods. What? I’m going. Jesus, get home.”
“I’m calling for Cheryl Nicholl. May I speak to her please?’
“Who is this?”
“This is Tampa General Hospital. Your father has had a severe heart attack. He won’t let us stabilize him until he speaks with you.”
“Put him on.”
“Are you fucking kidding me Dad? Do you know what’s going on? A heart attack? Let them do whatever they need to do. For the love of God! What is your problem?”
“I was just thinking maybe you and your sister could come down for a visit…don’t touch me with that fucking thing until I’m done taking with my daughter…”
“Dad. You’ve had a heart attack but there are planes in the sky that are flying into buildings. One’s over my head. I have no idea what’s happening right now. Let them do what they have to do and I’ll talk with you later, for Christ’s sake. “
“Okay sweetheart. Call your sister and I’ll expect you both tomorrow.”
“Dad. You’re killing me. Put the nurse back on.”
So, I could not get the kids out of school, we did not go to the Amish wedding, the cruise was cancelled, the tickets were transferred to what was the first commercial flight out of Cleveland to Tampa (three days later?), with all of 6 passengers (my sister included) and an Air Marshall who walked up and down the aisle with his hand on a revolver the entire flight, Dad had his triple by-pass, my sister and I cleaned and reorganized his apartment, we arranged for a home care service to attend to him upon his return, my knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit (why?), I was told by an ophthalmologist doing a a rotation through the ER that I probably had bone cancer (not), during which my father’s cleaning lady/girlfriend/grifter ransacked his apartment, and my sister went to retrieve my father’s car out of the impound lot because we knew he had a loaded gun under his seat (otherwise we wouldn’t have cared).
One week later, on September 18, we returned to our normal lives- except none of us did- did we.