A funny thing happened today whilst on the line at the grocery store.
I went in for maybe four items: rice, coconut milk, peas (can you tell that I’m making rice & peas tonight?), salad in a bag and cucumbers. Of course, my little basket was full and I bought a little more than I intended (like Kool-Aid and bagels). The supermarket was very crowded for a Wednesday afternoon (at least that’s what I thought) so I just jumped on the shortest line I could find. Short meant there were two people in front of me with a bajillion different things. This nice old lady that was standing on line in front of me let me skip in front of her. THEN, the lady in front of her let me put my basket in her cart so that I didn’t have to hold the heavy thing. I thought I need to pass on that kindness…I’ll do it tomorrow at work.
Tomorrow is September 11, 2008. I was watching the news this morning and they mentioned the fact that it will be the 7 year anniversary. I got a little teary-eyed. Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? We would watch the news every morning when I was growing up and so I was watching “Good Morning America” that day as I would do back home. I remember the news flashing across the screen that one of the towers had been hit. Back in the 90’s the basement of the Trade Center was blown up, so I thought great! Then I remember vividly watching as the news reporter was speaking there was a picture of the first tower on fire and a plane flying directly into the second tower- right in front of my eyes! Holy shit!
I couldn’t think… I couldn’t do anything. I went and showered because I had French class at 9:30. I couldn’t even shower. I cried and cried and cried. What the fuck is going on? My roommate Britta came into the bathroom with my phone- it was someone from my family, I can’t remember who. I remember Father Bryan, one of our priests at school, coming to see if I was okay. I remember Saint Mike’s canceling classes that day. And I remember my friends Shemaine, Malika and I just marinating over a box of tissues.
The rest is a blur. In the years to come, we would go to war with Iraq…for the second time in a span of what? 5 or 6 years? My Mom got shipped off to Balad, Iraq- and that was probably one of the scariest things that I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. I grew up even more overnight. I remember getting a copy of my mother’s will in the mail and having to sign it- in case anything happened to her over there. I had to pay ALL of my Mom’s bills while she was gone. Credit cards, insurance…having to remember to write checks monthly and do my paper for an Ed. class was hard- but I didn’t let my Mom get any late notices, so I must’ve done a good job.
She left the fall of my senior year and didn’t come back till after I moved to Florida. So she was gone for well over a year. Part of her duties over there was to fly to Baghdad multiple times a week to make deliveries and we all know Baghdad was the most dangerous city in Iraq…and she would tell me stories about bombs going off and running for cover…. That stuff was scary to hear.
Thank God she came back safe and sound, but what’s left of my mother today are the remnants of Bush’s war. And not to get political, we hear enough of that shit on TV, but my mother has changed. I know she’s changed, she knows she’s changed and she’s not the woman she was before she left and it hurts her. Physically and emotionally. She’s got screws in her shoulder, plates in her neck and a f*ed up knee. She’s been put on permanent disability by the army, so imagine how she’s feeling having her independence taken away after being able to work as she pleased, go where she wanted- it’s probably gonna be a long road for her…
A few weeks after 9-11 I flew home to New York. I needed to go see my family and to go see the Trade Center site, dubbed “Ground Zero” for myself. The flight to New York was long and scary. Usually when you fly into New York, one of the first things you would see was the towers- that was my landmark- I was HOME. Not anymore…there was no landmark for me to see all lit up in it’s glory. When I went down there, there were boards all around the site, but little holes in the wood that you could peer through. There was nothing…bulldozers, dirt, a hole where the two towers once stood. It’s unreal.
My mother used to work there up on the 40 somethin’ floor. Once I went to visit her with my younger brother and she took us up to the observation deck to see the City. That was some scary shit. It was windy as hell up there and knowing that you’re on top of the city and (in my mind) could possibly fall at any time- it was uncomfortable. What’s scary now is knowing that life will never be the same for my family and thousands of other families in the country. She was where she was, she saw what she saw…Things will never be the same for New York, don’t get me wrong I still love My City. They’ve done nothing at Ground Zero still, 7 years later. And things will never be the same for our country. 7 years later, we’re looking for a new president. War is just one topic of choice. In the meantime, the death toll for soldiers in this country continues to rise every day.