Looking back

I was in the lab bright and early, preparing lecture notes for a class I was TA’ing that morning. Between songs on the lab radio playing behind my desk, something was mentioned about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. The whole thing sounded very odd, and I couldn’t shake the image of some little two seater losing navigational control in the maze of the NYC skyline.

As I left for the morning’s lecture, I heard news of the second plane. Unable to wrap my mind around what was happening, I headed into class. When I walked out of the lecture, I heard that the first tower had fallen. Soon the news came of the second tower falling, the Pentagon being hit, and a fourth plane in Pennsylvania. But I barely absorbed any of it.

For the remainder of the day, I focused on bench work. Others in the lab were heading out to pick up their children from school and mourn with their families/spouses. My family lived 4 hours away, and I didn’t want to go home to my lonely apartment, so I worked a long day. I talked to my mom and dad a couple of times, but mostly ignored my cell phone, email, and the news.

When I finally did leave it was dark out. I picked up a cheap bottle of wine on my way home. On the old, worn couch of my tiny efficiency apartment, I got drunk while absorbing the events of the day from Dan Rather. Then I cried myself to sleep in front of the TV.


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