The enormity of it was lost on me at the time. Thinking it was just one plane, I assumed it was a fluke, an accident.
Once I got to class, one of my classmates asked the rest of us if we'd heard about the terrorist attack. I thought to myself, Geez, this is how rumors get started! Something goes wrong with one plane, and next thing you know, it's a terrorist attack!
I spent a good part of the day in front of the TV, and as the day wore on, I couldn't shake my fear that something had happened to Bob. You see, he was living in Brooklyn & working in Manhattan at the time. I emailed him. And waited. And then I called his apartment. And waited. (Phone calls were not getting through. The lines were completely swamped.) Finally, in mid-evening, I got an email saying that he was fine. He'd walked his friend Shira home, and he would call me when he got back to Brooklyn.
I was so grateful. He called, we talked, and when we got off the phone, I finally allowed myself to feel the fear that I'd been trying not to face. What if something had happened to him? It was that day that I thought, "Maybe my sister is right. Am I in love with Bob?"
(She had asked me that, point-blank, in the spring of that year.)
At that point, I'd known Bob for about ten years.
I'd never once thought that marrying Bob could be an option. I had no idea he might have feelings for me.
(As my dad pointed out later, any fool could see I had feelings for Bob.)
Perhaps as a result of Bob's post-traumatic stress, things were said more directly and more quickly than they might otherwise have been. September 11th was a Tuesday, I believe. By Saturday, our cards were on the table, so to speak.
We began dating (long-distance), and were married in July 2002, following a (suspiciously short, apparently!) six-week engagement.
On September 11th each year, I am grateful again that Bob was not near the Twin Towers that morning. I think of my classmate in that Pastoral Counseling class whose father HAD been in the Twin Towers that morning, and who was missing for weeks before they found him in a New Jersey hospital.
I grieve for the families who lost loved ones.
And I wince at the prejudice & hatred aimed at Muslims. Surely we can agree that prejudice & hatred do no one any good?