When I think about September 11, 2001, I don’t think of the terrorists. I don’t think about the conspiracy theories floating around out there that our own government is responsible for the attacks. I don’t think about how much it changed our world and how we live in it basically overnight.
No, when I think about the events that happened on September 11, 2001, my mind inevitably returns to the cloudy, partly rainy morning at our house in Jacksonville. The phone rang. It was my dad asking if I was watching the news.
“Turn it on. I’ll wait.”
“Any major one. I’m watching NBC.”
“What’s going on?”
“You have to see it to believe it.”
I walked from my home office to the front room and turned on the television.
This is where it gets fuzzy. The first building had been hit, but now I don’t remember if the second one had already been hit or if I’d turned it on in time to see Matt Lauer and Katie Couric report about that one. I do remember I was watching as the Pentagon was targeted.
I was definitely watching as the Twin Towers fell.
That’s what I think about when I think about 9/11: all the loves that were lost. Now, as I did that day, I think of all the couples who, like me, had kissed their loved one goodbye before they left for work that day. The goodbyes that many had no idea would be their last.
Did most husbands rush their kisses as part of a perfunctory morning ritual? Did wives, preoccupied with scooting the kids off to school or getting to work themselves, simply stick out a cheek to accept the kiss instead of taking the time to turn their heads and catch it with their lips?
How many couples skipped the kiss, because they were too busy and preoccupied with running out the door to catch a train or fight traffic into the city? How many took for granted they’d be back that night? That they’d have another chance for a kiss the next morning?
What I think about on September 11 is how I should keep this in mind every day the whole year through. That no matter how busy or chaotic, there’s always time for a goodbye kiss. That I shouldn’t take it for granted that I’ll get a chance for another. That if I have the chance today, I should lock lips with abandon before parting with my husband in the morning. Just in case it is my final goodbye kiss.