Posted by: Judy | September 11, 2018

9-11

Many of my memories are as fresh as if it were yesterday.

I woke, as usual, in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun was up, anyway. It was still dark. I dressed and drove to take care of my horse. I fed him, groomed him, spent time enjoying him, like every single morning for the previous 4+ years. It was my time with God. No one was out at the barn as early as I was. It was the perfect way to start the day.

King’s Pawn was an Arabian/Appaloosa. He had the Arabian dish in his nose, but his head wasn’t as small. He was a flea-bitten gray, white with tiny brown spot, like little bites, all over. His white mane and tail had a touch of flaxen mixed in.

He’d been abused by his first owner. His second owner worked hard to earn his trust. With her, he’d been trained to second level dressage and then had done some endurance racing. She had him 13 years but could no longer give him the individual care he needed. I took over as his groom for a while. He had a severe colic, and she feared she’d have to put him down. I worked with him. He became mine when he was 18 years old. A story for another day.

I’d finished, for the day, and was headed to my car. I needed to pick up my transcribing work. One of the other boarders approached me and asked if I’d heard about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I didn’t know her well, and I thought her idea of a joke was sick. I’m not good at hiding how I feel, and she kept trying to convince me it was true. I’d had friends in the past who’d tell outrageous stories because they thought it was funny to “trick” people. Yeah, we aren’t friends now. I don’t find it humorous to make a fool of someone else.

The owner joined us and said that a plane had hit the pentagon. I knew her better and realized neither of them was joking. It was after seven, which made it after ten in New York. There was so much we didn’t know yet.

One thought popped into my head: Which airlines were involved? One of my friends, at the time, was a pilot. The last I’d heard, his route was on the east coast. No one knew which airlines were involved.

I turned on the radio in my car and drove to pick up my work, with the windows rolled down. I was already hot and sweaty from taking care of my horse. A little more heat didn’t matter. As I passed other cars on the road, with their windows rolled down, I could hear they were listening to the exact same news I was. Neither place where I picked up work knew what had happened.

Upon arriving home, I called my friend, expecting to go to voicemail. He answered, on the west coast, grounded. His route had changed. It was learned later that his airline company wasn’t involved.

I turned on the television and left it on for three days. I knew the world had changed, forever.

Several of my friends lost friends.

It wasn’t until months later that I learned my cousin usually had breakfast at Windows on the World, at the top of North Tower. He wasn’t there that day because he was taking his parents to the airport.

My home is close to an international airport. I’m used to seeing and hearing planes land and take off all day long. The silence of the next few days, both visual and audible, was deafening.

I cried then. I cry now. I continue to find stories I didn’t know about at the time. I will remember.


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