"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dividing Line

I'm never inclined to blog on this day, the second worst day of my life and one extremely significant in my life journey. In three years of blogging, I've managed to do it once. You can read a summary my personal 9/11 story here. Just the basics. I left out a lot.

As often happens, this morning is a painfully perfect replica of September 11, 2001. Which only serves to bring back difficult emotions with too much clarity for comfort.

The Chap and I headed down to Washington, DC shortly before 9/11, on an early morning flight out of Manchester. It was a lovely dawn, quite magical, and my eyes were glued to the window. Our route took us right over Manhattan, along its western edge. We were at a fairly low altitude. The rising sun struck the World Trade towers as we passed by. For once, and for the first time, I actually thought them beautiful--breathtakingly so.

In a matter of days, they were dust. So many lives crumbled with them. And in a way, something of my own way of living also vanished.

For many reasons--mostly connected to that event--I've not been back to Washington since that trip. So much has happened, my life and the Chap's have undergone profound changes, more than I can itemise. There have been losses--both of my grandparents, who lived so long in Washington, are gone. The dogs who comforted me on 9/11/01 have left me.

My relationship with Washington began before I was ever born. For me it's a special place for reasons that have nothing to do with government or politics. It's always a homecoming for me, to a place where I meet many of my earliest memories. And later ones.

Soon I shall be there again. I can't really cross backwards over the dividing line of 9/11. While there I'll encounter so much of my past, and I'll make some fresh memories. It will be an interesting experience. And, given the nature of our activities, enjoyable.

But oh--what challenges are posed by our wardrobe requirements, and the packing! I rely on that for my needed distraction from the complicated emotions conjured by this date on the calendar.

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