I met a friend recently for lunch at a park near my home, desperate for her company and encouragement. Nerves were frayed, emotions out of whack, reserve tanks anything but reserved.
I apologized in advance for my undone condition. As I attempted to articulate my very frail feelings, blaming my 4 am wake-up call after a night of worrying about my new book, her simple response was, “You’re exhausted, Jody. No wonder you’re on the brink of tears.”
“Plus, it’s almost September 11th.”
Until she voiced the obvious, I wasn’t aware that, too, was weighing on my mind. Our bodies have memory and you’re remembering that day.
In September of 2001, my daughter and I celebrated her graduation from culinary school with a trip to New York City. We’d arranged a 10-day visit with my nephew who lived in Brooklyn and also a meeting with Ruth Reichl, then Editor of Gourmet Magazine and author of 3 of our favorite books on cooking. The first five days in and around the city were glorious. A drive to the beach and back, subway-riding to Manhattan and the New York Public Library. Strolling through Central Park and jaunts all around Brooklyn. On the evening of September 10th, we met my nephew after work for drinks at a restaurant high atop the Marriott Hotel.
A tremendous thunderstorm came through that night. We watched in awe from our cloud-high window seats at the lightning strikes, rain storming down in buckets. When we ventured back to the street, we found the air charged with heat and pressed on through the rain. Although we got soaked, we dried out on the subway ride home. (I wrote about the kindness of the people we met that night in this poem.)
The next morning was the day of our appointment with Ruth back in Midtown at 30 Rockefeller Center. I remember the voicemail from her assistant, ‘See you at 11 on the 11th.’
The morning broke with a crystal clear blue sky, scrubbed clean from the previous nights’ storm. And then the earth moved, the sky filled with ashes and paper glitter and we were forever changed.