I can't believe I'm at work today. All I want to do is go home and watch the news channels and old video tapes. I want to look at every picture I can, read every word written about it. I feel like if I could just absorb everything there is to absorb, then maybe it would make some sense. Maybe I could understand what happened to me on September 11th, 2001.
I live in Los Angeles now, a world away from Wall St. and Broadway and Ground Zero. It's all so far away here. How can people understand what 9/11 was here among the palm trees and movie stars? I know that everyone felt horrible and scared when they saw it on television, but does it mean the same thing when you've never eaten lunch by the fountain in the huge courtyard between the towers, if you've never gone up to Window On The Worlds just to see what it feels like to be that high up? I don't know.
I wish I could wear a big sign that says "Handle With Care". I wish I could make people understand how much I still hurt today.
I know I'm lucky. I didn't die on 9/11. Nobody I worked with died. I escaped relatively unhurt. Banged up a bit, smothered in dust and debris, but still not mutilated...at least not on the outside. And that's the thing about it. Since I don't look messed up on the outside, who's to know how much I'm bleeding on the inside? I don't even know. I thought I was doing pretty well, actually. This year has been really tough, though. I guess I thought I was more healed than I am. It still feels so raw. To me 9/11 was yesterday...and it was a hundred years ago.
And I really miss being a part of New York City. I miss riding the subway and walking through the Upper West Side to Central Park. I miss the grit and the realness of life there. I miss the people. It's like missing a lover or a dear friend. It's a physical feeling. But I lived in NYC from 1995 to 2002. My New York is mostly a pre-9/11 New York. My memories are from a city that doesn't really exist anymore and maybe that's why I grieve so deeply.
I wrote about that day at the September 11 Digital Archive. You can read it here if you want to. I don't think I'm up for writing about it all over again today...although I probably should.