I had another blog I've been working on to post here for today.
And then I looked at the date.
I remember where I was on this day eight years ago. I was sitting in Mrs. Jones classroom, paying attention to everything but she was telling me about algebra. I was counting the ceiling tiles. I was doodling in my notebook. I was shuffling my feet and trying to ignore the person in front of me - he had an aweful habit of farting, and had chosen that moment to let loose.
And then it happened, and I was doing exactly the opposite, trying to listen and absorb every piece of information. I was sixteen at the time, and hardly cared about worldly matters. Or any matters, really.
Sixteen year olds have a habit of being self-absorbed. I know I was. Still am, if I'm being honest with myself.
I couldn't understand what had happened. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers? At first I didn't believe it. It had to be some sort of sick joke. Nobody would attack us like that. I looked around the classroom and saw that my classmates had much the same reaction as I did. We sat there, in our yellow classroom, perplexed. The bell rang, and we shuffled off to our next class.
And then the second plane hit.
I clearly remember everything in my mind going blank. The teacher was rumbling something about how he wasn't going to be teaching today and he wanted all of us to be quiet.
I didn't hear a word he said. His words were hardly merited - all of us were silent, eyes tranfixed on the television mounted in the corner of the classroom. At sixteen, I don't think I quite understood the magnitude of what had happened. I just knew that someone had crashed some planes into the Twin Towers, and many, many people died.
I remember watching people jump out of the building. I remember seeing the ugly black noxious plumes of smoke coming from the crashes. I remember hearing that there had been a plane that hit the Pentagon. That the south Tower had collapsed. That someone had crashed a plane into a field in Pennsylvania.
I remember it all.
I had no connection to the Twin Towers. I didn't know anyone who was killed. Hell, I didn't even know anyone who helped volunteer. And yet, there was a sadness in me, like a little tiny black hole that had eaten up all my other feelings.
School had dismissed for the day. Nobody cared.
My mother took me and my sister home. I remember switching on Cartoon Network - it was the only channel not covering the Towers. I didn't want my sister to see what had happened. She was only ten years old. I sat there, numb, watching brightly colored characters and their misadventures.
Years later, here I am. I'm twenty-four now, not sixteen. That little black hole is still there, surprisingly. Every year I think I've gotten rid of it, until this date comes and everything rushes back to me. I cannot imagine how those who actually lost loved ones feel. I cannot imagine how those who volunteered and saw first hand what malice can do feel right now.
Life's not fair. Nobody ever said it was. But what happened on this day eight years ago was an atrocity that should never have occured.
We will never forget.