Saturday, September 10, 2011


Nothing deep to write here tonight - nothing insightful - just thoughts. I remember exactly where I was when the first plane hit the WTC. I was teaching 8th grade earth science when Mr. Mattson, the 7th grade life science teacher, came out in the hallway and loudly told all the teachers to turn on their televisions. We stopped our lessons and watched smoke billowing from one of the towers while a lady reporter talked about an accidental crash. As she was speaking we saw a 2nd plane come in from the side of the television screen. One of my students said, "Is that another plane?" It was a chilling, eerie day. We didn't know what was going on but reports kept coming in - about the Pentagon and a crashed plane in PA. We didn't know if there were other planes, headed to other destinations, or what would happen. It was something our minds didn't know how to grasp and yet we tried to make some sense of it as our students were watching in disbelief - looking to us for explanation. My mom was teaching 6th grade science down the hall and all I wanted to do was dismiss my class and go sit in her room where I knew I was safe and if not at least I'd be with her if something happened.

That evening, I watched more coverage. I didn't actually see bodies jumping from the burning buildings but I must have heard about it because when I went to bed I had a nightmare that would invade my sleep for years to come...the exact same dream...night after night the first few months until it slowed down to a couple of times a month...and here we are...ten years later and I still find myself having that dream when I'm under stress or very tired or feeling overwhelmed. I'm driving a car on a two-lane highway that is headed straight up to the sky. The ground is below me, I can see it in my rearview mirror, and my grandparents and great-grandma are passengers in my car. There is water falling down on either side of the road so if I make a mistake and drive outside the lines, the water will overtake me and kill us. As I near the top of the road, so far above the ground that I can no longer see it, bodies begin dropping past my car. I don't know where they are coming from or why they are jumping. I can just watch helplessly as they pass my window. The road levels out and I find myself driving under overpasses in NYC. I am approaching the WTC and it becomes clear where the bodies are coming from. My car stalls with a perfect view of the burning buildings and the people dropping from the windows. I want to catch them. I want the firefighters to hold out those big round things they use in the movies to catch jumpers. I want the dream to end but it never does...not til I wake up. I sit in my car and cry. I cry about the people in the plane (I have a 2nd recurring dream that I am in the plane), I cry about the people trapped in the buildings, I cry about the loved ones who receive phone messages. I cry and cry and all around me water keeps falling. I'm trapped in my car, forced to watch, unable to help.

Same dream. Ten years later. Same helpless feeling. I wonder why?

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