nothing has changed, really

Wednesday September 12. 2001


Right before my Dad left yesterday, I gave him his birthday present, over a month early.

It was a hardcover copy of Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers. My Dad had been looking forward to the series on HBO for months now, so I figured it would be better to give it to him now, so he could read it while he watched the series.

He gave me bone crushing hug in return. The strongest, biggest hug we've shared since...I don't know when.

I broke the embrace. "I didn't inscribe it, let me have it."

"Happy Birthday Daddo. Hope you enjoy the series and the book. Love, Bethany (2001)."

Today at work, I was glancing through the log notebook at the music desk, when my eyes fell on yesterday's schedule. I stared at the date on the top of the page. September 11, 2001. I couldn't see that without feeling sick and having a cold dull pain fill me. It's so odd, in my young life so many bad things have happened to the country and the world - the Gulf War, the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine High School - and nothing has hit me like this before. I suppose that's because nothing like this has ever happened before. And for me, it's never hit so close to home.

Around eight, I got the urge to call John. At first, I ignored it, especially since I was supposed to be, you know, working (though I had no inclinations to do so). But something told me, call him now. So I went into the break room and called him, and managed to get through on my second try. We talked for about five minutes. He spent some of the day in midtown on 34th street, looking unsuccessfully for a Kinko's so he could check his email. Even that far uptown he said the dust and smoke was thick and made his eyes water. He doesn't know when he's going back to work. He doesn't even know if he'll have a job. As far as we know, his building still stands.

We talked later tonight, of course, after I got home. He related everything to me again. He needed two beers to get to sleep last night. I had nightmares, and woke up with the same splitting headache I had when I went to sleep. I was too overloaded to go to school.

What do I feel now? I haven't even gotten to anger yet. I don't care right now who did it, I don't care whether or not they pay. All I feel is sadness. An incredible, overwhelming sadness unlike anything I've ever felt before.

We're very lucky, John and I. So so so lucky. That tonight we could laugh and talk about Star Trek and I could make fun of the way he says "yesterday". That's more precious and beautiful to me than any gift I could ever be given.

One Year Ago:
"Now, I do not claim to know anything about raising children, other than having been one, but I can tell you that trying to negotiate with a two or three year old child on their choice of pastry for upwards of 10 minutes is unnecessary and futile."

Two Years Ago:
"For all those of you who say art school can't possibly be hard work, I have two words: fuck you."