“Ten years later I don’t feel the benefit of a decade of healing.”
I had moved back to Long Island, NY in the summer of 2001 after living in Chicago for the previous four years. I was in between jobs, something I was starting to get used to as an a middle-aged magazine editor. I had moved in temporarily with my ex-wife and her toddler-aged daughter. The plan was to re-group, find a job in Manhattan and continue my once-charmed life as a wordsmith. But job leads were scarce that summer and as fall approached, I morphed from early bird trying to catch a worm to part of the furniture, sleeping in well past 9 am every day. On Sept. 11, I woke up, walked past the living room TV and logged onto my laptop. The lead news item on Yahoo! was “Plane crashes into World Trade Center.” Back then, internet news sites consisted of just story links, no visuals, so while I was waiting for the dial-up modem to load the story, I clicked the TV on, just in time to see the first tower collapse. I called my ex-wife, who worked about 15 miles closer to Manhattan, and frantically told her to pick up the baby and return to the house, that we should all be together in case a nuclear bomb went off. I found myself wanting to skip over “well-planned terrorist attack” and go directly to Armageddon, as if increasing the gravity of the situation would make what had happened easier to accept. But there was no such relief. We attached to the TV news coverage all day and all night, feeling violated, vulnerable and not much else. Ten years later I don’t feel the benefit of a decade of healing. This loss still feels fresh as the day it happened.
— Tony Dela Cruz