There is so much, understandably I suppose, swimming through my head tonight. So many things I wanted to sit down and write about - the growing nervous energy about facing induction again, the fear that I could face another 38 hours of labor, the abosolute realization that I have no freaking clue how to manage two children at one time, all that stuff. Then I read Moxie's blog entry today and I realized what I needed to write about most. I had to write *the* day.
I am not a New Yorker. I've never lived in the city or stayed there for more than a single night. I don't work in the city on a regular basis - although I have had many a business meeting there. Yet as a Jersey girl when someone says "the city" to me there is only one city I ever think of. New York.
The past two years when I turn my calender pages from August to September my memory starts to take me back to *the* day. I remember what an incredibly perfect, beautiful morning it was. I can see that crystal clear, bright, blue sky in my mind's eye. The drive up the parkway that morning was almost serene as if even New Jersey drivers managed to be courteous behind the wheel en masse because of the day's seemingly traquil beauty. I forced myself out of the car when I got to the office, squelching the urge to just keep driving a few miles more to the ocean. I settled into my desk and started my daily routine of drinking something hot while cleaning out both work and personal email inboxes.
And then the phone rang.
A simple phone call that changed everything. It was a coworker that sat a mere six desks outside the office I shared with the other 'half' of marketing. "Does Sam have on her radio?" she asked. "A plane just crashed into the Trade Center."
Every news site I tried led me to a message that there was too much traffic at that time. I finally found out the hell that was breaking loose just an hour up the turnpike through a group of guys watching cable news channels and posting updates to the baseball bulletin board I had been moderating in 2001. To this day, even though we have our sports related disagreements, there is this weird bond that exists between those of us that exchanged posts that morning. We were a life line to each other at a time when most of us were in a place devoid of informational outlets.
I stepped away from my desk when I heard a plane just crashed in DC. We have offices in that area and major clients. The closeness I had been feeling to it all being just outside the city got even closer suddenly. I felt like I was suffocating. What I will never forget - what will always stay with me and remind me exactly how horrific that day was - was the smell that hung in the air that day. I was standing out the back door of my office building just over an hour's drive outside the city, a train ride away, a distance that allowed me to see the skyline from the shore yet only on a clear day. I was that far away and yet I could smell it. I could see the sky to the Northeast blacken with sickening smoke. The billowing clouds of death rising up. I could smell the burning of jet fuel comingling with bodies and buildings. And it wasn't just there. When I eventually made my way home that afternoon - the parkway moving slower than I've ever seen it move on a day with good weather and no shore traffic - I still saw the smoke. Perhaps it was my mind playing tricks at me that moment but I could also still smell that hideous smell.
Its a day I wish I could forget, and yet I hope I never do.