I’ve been trying for hours to write something deep and meaningful in this space. I tried looking up deep quotes about peace and hope but nothing seemed quite right. Then I tried, several times, writing about what happened to me on September 11, 2001. But that seemed too personal and, at the same time, far too impersonal because although we lived in DC at the time we weren’t victims. I felt that telling my tale would take from the real stories of that day.
Instead I’ll tell you a story that followed that horrible day: the way I woke up on September 12th. Hubby, as always, woke up before me and made his way to the living room. I remember hearing the coffee grinder start and then him switching on the TV, which was still set to CNN from the night before.
All of a sudden, I heard “Oh damn. Oh sh!t! Oh my God!” I lay still in the bed for a full thirty seconds doing nothing but thinking about his words. The world had all but ended a few hours ago and now Hubby was making sounds like it was all about to horrifically start all over again.
“Baby?” I called. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” I started to get out of bed in slow motion because although I wanted to know what was happening, the smarter part of my brain knew that it didn’t want to know anything of the sort.
“Stay in the bedroom!” He commanded. Well that actually kind of worked for me but I still needed to know what was going on and told him as much.
“There’s a mouse in the apartment, dammit!” A mouse. There was a mouse in the apartment. My darling husband had terrified me beyond words because Mickey freaking Mouse was paying us a visit?
I stalked to the door that bordered the living room and master bedroom. “Don’t you ever do that again! You scared me! I thought something horrible had happened again and it’s a damned mouse! Don’t you ever dare do that again!” I screamed this and variations of it at him for several minutes stopping only when Hubby came into the room and held me long enough to convince me that he felt bad about scaring me. He also promised he would take care of find and disposing of the mouse immediately.
That was the morning after 9/11. It was a sequence of events I probably would have forgotten by now if it hadn’t been preceded by the nightmare of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. So next time something happens that you believe is disastrous, think again: it could be the end of the world, or it could just be a mouse.
Those days of 9/11 are remembered in so many different ways: where were we, what were we doing?--the long walk out from Washington, trying to contact people by cell phones (was the call centre working?), was there money in the bank , should we go wandering the world to Africa on holdays.... I still see in my mind those images of the trade towers coming down as I watched it live on TV.
Yes, indeed, carpe diem, one never knows what tomorrow will bring--even if it is only a mouse in the house.
Merthyr in Windsor
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