It’s a day I don’t care to remember but one we are implored to “Never Forget.”
I spend a morning visiting Vashon Island, giving a tour to a woman who is in town to attend the launch of a biography about Betty MacDonald and given that she lost five years of her life to intense Betty-ism and research, I am only happy to oblige her with a tour of Betty’s house. The day is beautiful, sunny. She is in a state of euphoria as we walk around the house and along the beach. We drink special tea and eat miniature pies at the kitchen table with “the boys,” to whom I have rented the house and who maintain it with such adoration.
Driving off the ferry, a call lights up my phone with a 416 area code, Toronto. CTV News. Can I do an interview in an hour? “We use Facetime now,” he explains. At the fire station, I find myself answering familiar questions as I stare into my blank cell phone as it sits propped up on the kitchen counter. I am unclear why I have agreed to do this.
The following evening, the eve of 9/11, Jim and I fly above a twilit Seattle and it feels like freedom from the chaos below. As we fly over the baseball stadium, we can see people projected on the giant TV screen. I realize that it’s Jamie Moyer and his wife, and I reminded of all the grieving kids that their foundation has helped through Camp Erin, and shake my head at the irony.
At dinner, a family walks by the window, and I watch as a man swings his young son onto his shoulders, his wife looking on, smiling. The son’s face is painted blue, and I know they’re coming home from the fair, which we can still hear. My heart grips for a moment, as I place myself in that scene with them, not so much remembering, as imagining Arron hoisting a similar sized Carter, face painted, onto his shoulder.
As I crawl into bed the phone rings again. My brother. I assume it is the beginning of the many phone calls and emails I will receive over the next 24 hours, but he calls to tell me how he got down on one knee in a restaurant and proposed to his girlfriend. I wish I could join them in dancing joyfully around their kitchen, drinking champagne.
15 years and this is how it goes. Beauty, soaring, irony, reminders and joys.
My facebook lights up as I write this, so thank you all for thinking of us today, for all the emails and phone calls and facebook posts. They are certainly one of the many joys we receive on this day.