Five years ago...
I was a sophomore in college, living on campus with a roommate named Phillipa. Phillipa had actually spent the night in her boyfriend's room, and the first thing I remember hearing was her phone ringing. I ignored it and went back to sleep... it was Tuesday and I didn't have any morning classes. Then I heard Phillipa's voice on her answering machine, saying "Alli, wake up, get up, turn on the news, turn on the news". I stumbled awake and out of bed, thinking that it was some kind of local emergency like a tanker spill near the school. I turned on the tv, couldn't remember what channel FNC was on, but it didn't matter because every channel was talking about it. It was after 9 Pacific Time by then, so everything had already happened, including the collapse of the Towers, but we were still trying to figure out a lot of things. And I just remember sitting on my bed, staring at the television in shock, tearing up, and then getting online to see if anyone had heard from my friends who live in the New York and DC areas. I don't think I actually cried over it for a long time, but I just watched the television all day, and I remember being so angry every time I saw people walking by outside, laughing and talking -- like, don't you know what's happened? And they probably didn't, they were probably coming back from a morning class, but it still made me so angry.
I had class that night, and I actually went, although now I can't imagine why I didn't just get in my car and start driving home. I went - it was a class on how to teach PE to kids - and there was just this sense of numbness in the room. Nobody was talking about it or anything else, really, and more than a few of us kept tearing up. The professor came in and just talked quietly for a few minutes about how we might have handled this if we had been teaching when it happened, answered kids' questions and concerns and everything, and then he let us go.
For months, maybe years after that, I was absolutely addicted to the news. I literally got nervous if I didn't have it on, because... I don't know, I guess somehow I felt better if I had that window on the world, that I would know right away if anything happened.
In a way it seems like it's been a very long time since that day, because so much has happened in my life and in the world in general. And I think a lot of people don't want to think about that day because it was so painful and so scary. But it just seems incredibly cruel to all the victims and their families and the heroes of that day not to remember, not to honor them with memory and reflection, even if it hurts. Maybe especially because it hurts.