Eight years ago today, I was driving the kids to school when the radio news started broadcasting that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My first thought was it must be really foggy there, because how in the world could you not see that giant building right in front of you.
No, I didn’t get it at first. Not until the second plane hit. Our world changed in that moment, but not so much as for the families of those who were lost.
I won’t go on and on – the subject has been covered numerous times by much more eloquent writers than I – but I just want to urge you to take a moment out of this politically-charged time of national division and remember how we came together. Remember those who were lost. I know I’ll never forget.
Michael was a huge part of my high school years. He and I met auditioning for the musical Kismet back in -oh heck…85? Long damned time ago. A different lifetime. We had a pretty classic high school romance, I guess, but it didn’t feel typical. We had our ups and downs, but always came back to center – to one another. And then, at last, we didn’t. He found the woman who would become the love of his life, and I moved on to another someone special, and eventually met my own husband. The last time I saw him was when we ran into one another – each of us with our respective spouses – at a mall in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Michael and I went to many school dances. Doubled because he went to one high school and I went to another. We loved theater, and every time I see Prisoner of Second Avenue, I think about how he played the lead role. I can still hear his terrible New York accent. He was the first person who ever read anything I’d written, and he himself was an amazing writer. We were not destined to end up together, but I am not naive enough to think he didn’t have a part in shaping who I am today. He was the first man I loved and the first man who loved me back. In that, he was always a part of my life and I thought of him fondly.
I don’t know much about his life past about 1990. We drifted apart, as people do. We shared mutual friends and I was somewhat familiar with his life and profession, and I kept up with his writing at the Speculist. All that came to an end last Thursday when he was killed by a wreckless driver who broadsided his car.
I don’t know if this blog post is appropriate, but honestly, I’m not sure I care. Everyone should know that the world is missing an amazing individual, all because someone was in a hurry, possibly drunk, and ran a red light. A wife is a widow, a sister lost her brother, and parents lost thier son. And though I hadn’t talked to him in many, many years, my world is a little sadder knowing that he’s gone.
My thoughts are with his wife, Peggy, with his sister Mary, and with his parents John and Judy.
I won’t post a link. Go to any news site and it’s there. 32 dead. Insanity.
When I was in high school, I’d been to Columbine High School a dozen different times for everything from music contests to French Club. I’d changed clothes in the closet off the choir room where some of the kids hid during the incendent years after I graduated. When the shooting happened that April, I could picture the rooms they were talking about, and it felt… wierd.
Now my father has that weird feeling. And my uncle. Both are alums at Virgina Tech.
In the coming weeks, we’ll all ask why. It’s natural. But there is no reason good enough. There never could be. Forget the killer – he is not even worth a footnote in the history books. Remember the victims. Memorialize them. And, in good time, move ahead and make a new life beyond the hurt. Over the years as I return to the Denver area, I see so many people stuck in that day at Columbine. I see videos of the gunmen and hear those names over and over. I don’t want to hear those names. I don’t want to see their faces as they taped themselves readying to murder what they hoped to be hundreds. Forget them. They’re not worth our energy or emotions. Move ahead and forge a new life – just as the people in Virgina will now have to do.
There are no words for their grief. Perhaps the best we can wish for is that everyone in the world will be a little kinder to one another today. Other than to say that, how does one even respond? You can’t.