Saturday, September 02, 2006

what comes to mind today

Outside the wind howls and it's fair to say that within the past two weeks the temperature has dropped about 30 degrees. I am holed up in Brooklyn with my reading and a steady mug of mint tea. Gifford and I had a four hour breakfast in the neighborhood and will meet up to cook dinner tonight at her apartment.

Some things never change. I was thinking about how we're coming up on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. I remember Gifford driving over to my house that evening, with no words and hands thrown up in the air. I remember staying up too late the night before, talking out the relationship that could never be. I was so tired that morning of the 11th. I'd had less than four hours of sleep (ah, age 23) and my dad and I drove to work. I made him stop at PJ's (a place that no longer exists thanks to Katrina) for iced coffee. When I got back in the car, NPR was a mess. No one knew how to talk about it. On August 29th, 2005, I had dinner with friend who just couldn't believe my house could be destroyed. "It just can't happen," he said. But there it was. A shot of Robert E. Lee at Paris Avenue, right by that PJ's coffee shop. All underwater.

I wonder how many speechless moments I'll experience in my life. I look back and none of us knew what to say. Was it unpatriotic to say that I was surprised an attack on American soil had never before happened? Isn't this what the British and the Israelis were so familiar with? Why did it come as a shock to us that we could be so vulnerable? I had to ask myself the same questions all last year.

I sit here in Brooklyn, mulling over all this, while a manuscript sits unread on my bed. I should hunker down and do that. And I think about that cup of coffee on September 11th and how much I liked that boy. How many cups of coffee since then? How many different relationships? But I still meet Gifford for coffee. There's always our friendship. Trading books and movies, trading stories, listening, laughing. Sometimes you get lucky.


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