I had just come back from a couple of weeks in Israel. It was work, not vacation. I was in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, so there was no sense that this was a vacation. I also made the dreadful mistake of drinking local water without worrying about it because, after all, I had lived there a decade without a problem. Times changed. So did my gut. What I did in the past didn’t stop me from getting one of those ugly waterborne diseases.
Which is why I was at home on 9/11. I was in no shape to go anywhere where I couldn’t get to a bathroom in less than a nanosecond.
The phone rang. My son was working at one of the “backbone” services that handled the Internet.
“Turn on the TV,” he said.
“What channel?” I asked.
“Any channel,” he replied.
Any channel? That sounded serious. I turned it on in time to watch the first tower fall and was still standing there with my mouth open, in total shock when the second tower fell.
Tall ship by the towers that were there before 2001
Everything changed after that. We were not invulnerable. Not that we had ever been invulnerable. Pearl Harbor should have reminded us of that, but that was before I was born. And it was on “some other island.” It wasn’t “home.”
Not that I currently live in New York, but I was born and raised there, as was Garry. New York wasn’t “just a place.” It was home and even though we lived in Massachusetts, New York was where we began, where we became ourselves.
Everything changed and we thought, for a while, it was better. But it wasn’t. I wonder if it will ever change back again to the place I remember. I know growing up, the world was very far from perfect, but it was home.
Now, I don’t know what this place is. It doesn’t feel like home anymore.