On that day I was twelve years old, and Tall One was ten. He would sometimes sleep on my bedroom floor, I don't even know why anymore, but he'd done so the previous night. That's how it was that our mom woke us up at the same time, and tried to explain what had happened to us. There was a history of trouble in the Middle East, she said, and it was inevitably going to result in something big and terrible happening. Well, that big and terrible thing had finally happened.
I don't remember what she said beyond that. I don't remember what I said, or how Tall One responded. I didn't even know anything about the Middle East, and was shocked that something like this was apparently inevitable. But I remember watching the towers fall on our TV, and not feeling anything. I was numb. I couldn't grieve or be upset for those who had died, and I was angry with myself for that. I wanted to feel something, but I didn't. I couldn't.
These days I know that being numb is my natural first response to any tragedy. Grief will follow soon enough. But I was twelve years old, and didn't know that about myself yet, so on top of processing what was happening in our country I was beating myself up for not feeling the "correct" emotions.
There are other things I remember from that time.
I was working my way through (while skipping the "boring" parts) the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, and found myself thinking that it was a rather grim book considering the events of the time. I thought I might be better off with a happier book, but stuck with it.
Even then I needed to write. My diary was missing, and I couldn't persuade my parents to take me to buy a new one, so I started a new sort of makeshift one with regular lined paper and something to hold the pages together. I needed that, as I sorted out both myself and events.
Then, there's the Star Wars video game I'd play with Tall One. Before watching the towers fall one of our favorite pass times in that game was to shoot up our own buildings. Hey, it looked more impressive than killing the bad guys. The explosions were cooler. After the towers fell, though, I just couldn't keep doing that. Yes I'd play the game, but somehow I couldn't playfully destroy our own buildings in that video game anymore.
...and looking at my two previous posts about that day, I see that I've written about each of these things before. I guess there are a few things in particular that have stuck with me.
Although this photo isn't directly from that day, I thought it might be appropriate.