Why is it still so painful five years later? Why do I still cry every time I see footage of the first building coming down and then, even harder, when the second topples? It’s because New York was what I call my adopted city. The Twin Towers were buildings I admired in a sea of concrete even though their monstrous size alone looked a bit out of place in that part of the city where the buildings are old and historical, and the other skyscrapers scraped the sky less than the Towers. On that day, I told my husband how I never even knew there was a subway station below the Twin Towers because I had never used it. Instead, I would make a point of walking through the plaza below, admiring the bull and the globe statues, and gazing upward to where the tops of the buildings seemed to meet in the clouds.
I moved to New York when I was 19 to attend school, lived there throughout my twenties, and in my heart, have never left it. I may live in the ‘burbs now with a house, two children and a husband, but I remember clearly living in the various apartments I had in the City, and walking through the streets to the various jobs I had while attending college. It’s a feeling I get every time I get off a train in Grand Central Station especially on one of those beautiful crisp days that appear for such a short time in the spring and fall. It’s a feeling of possibility and sheer joy.
I try not to live in the past, but the five year anniversary of that awful day brought back too many memories of that day and, more significantly, of that time in my life. A dear friend had just died from of breast cancer on the 7th, my uncle died that November, and a lady who was an honorary aunt to my brothers and me died the following February. In between was the ultimate irony of the death of my beloved cat of 15 years. I got her when I was single and she was cuddly kitten. I then moved with her through so many life changes that if she could talk, I would have had her sign a confidentiality agreement.
All of this led me to hug my children a little tighter, cry in my husband’s arms while watching some of the footage of September 11th, and appreciate the beautiful crisp day we in Southern Connecticut were given on the fifth anniversary; a day exactly like the day when the world changed. I will never be the same, but I will live my life for all of them; those I knew and those who died in a building I had admired.