The whole word grieved. I'll spare you the long, somber ode to those lost on September 11th. It has been done before, and by people far more qualified. While it did sadden me deeply, I know my own rendering of this event would not even scratch the emotional surface of what so many others went through on this day. I did not know anyone who perished, I had never even been to New York or the Pentagon at that time. While I was glued to the news coverage, as I imaging most of us were on that day and in the fateful days that followed, that was about as affected as I was by 9/11, 2001.
Instead, I will give you the only significant, personal account of this day that I have, and what it brings to the forefront of my mind each year:
On September 11th, 2004, I was the happiest that I had ever been. Life was finally beginning to make sense, and all of the puzzle pieces were starting to fall into place. The most amazing man had come into Aiden's and my life; we were all ridiculously happy. Blissfully, naively, frighteningly happy. Our joy was so untouchable.
I don't know about most people, but as an eternal pessimist I've certainly learned to dread this type of eerie perfection; the calm before the storm, if you will. Either way, on this particular day, that Murphian Law (why, yes...I did make that up) was so far from me it had not even scathed my psyche.
I was eagerly anticipating my upcoming nuptials and preparing to see all of my loved ones at my mother's house for my bridal shower.
I guess I should have seen it coming. Looking back on that day, at the glowing innocence that I still radiated, I was not ready for marriage. My baggage at this point in life was still far too light. But this would all soon change.
After a lovely afternoon that has since become nothing more than a blur to me, I returned home with a car full of gifts. This was it, the good times were finally ready to begin....and I had made it with only minimal bruising.
On my answering machine there was a message from my brother which I tried to return with no success and then another from my mom. She relayed that Derek wanted out of the wedding....something about not wanting to have to pay for a tux. As I blew it off I remember thinking that was so typically Derek, not sentimental in anyway, just cheap. It was only $60 bucks, but I guess to an 18 year-old that's enough to sacrifice sentiment.
Abrahm came over later that evening and fell asleep with Aiden on the couch. I remember looking at them, in the way cheesy Hallmark commercials portray it best, thanking God for bringing them both to me. As they slept I proceeded to unpack our gifts, assemble lamps, put away appliances, and play with an odd lotion and chap-stick making set that my grandmother probably impulsively bought at the checkout register and threw in with our gift.
I had peace. I had it and I didn't even know it. Peace is one of those odd emotions that you only recognize exists when it is violently ripped away from you; when it is too late; when it is gone.
And it was gone at 2am that morning.
The phone rang and I knew. Before my mother even started talking, I knew. Before she uttered Derek's name, I knew. She tried to lie to me and tell me he was probably fine...but I knew. My peace was gone. My soul mate was gone. My counterpart was gone. For someone who had everything just hours before I was now left with nothing. I was the loneliest person in the world...and I was so scared that Derek was the loneliest person not in the world.
As I rushed to get dresses I could not hold back the tears. While my mother had not told me anything too alarming on the phone, my spirit was telling me something entirely different the whole way to the hospital.
I lost who I was that night. I came out of that hospital a warped version of who I used to be. When your soul mates eyes are dead where else can you look to search for their soul?
Am I better today because of this, or just different? I don't know; is Derek better today because of this?
Perhaps he is finally there, perhaps he is happy. Today, 3 years later, I am certainly somewhere, and I do think I am happy. Just a different kind of happy.
In his personal effects was his wallet, and in his wallet was exactly $60. While I'm sure it was probably intended to be lavished on some worldly vices, I make myself believe it was for his tuxedo...and that makes me happy. Not the normal type of happy; the dark type of happy that I find comfort in these days....like finding a cute bandage for your stump, or a great deal on a wheelchair. I'm as happy as I can these days...and what's left of my heart is filled to them brim with joy.