Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - Try to remember that day in September....

I already posted on the greater meaning of 9/11 on my poliblogs today but as I'm winding down I'm remembering where I was when it happened. I didn't find out until 9:29 that morning even though I had been up since 7:30 blogging and had the TV on. I was tuned to the weather station.

I found out at Jake's when I picked up my morning swiss cheese sandwich. I didn't really believe them when they told me a plane had crashed into the WTC but when I arrived at the office minutes later, everyone was in the conference room watching it on the set we kept for videos.

We stood there for a long time, watching in disbelief as the footage repeated in an endless loop. The plane, the big orange blast of fire, and the black smoke pouring from the gaping hole in the side of the building. We spent most of the day there, wandering back from the random phone call. By the time the building collapsed, I was about a basket case.

I felt stunned. Numb with denial. I didn't want to believe what I was seeing. I almost couldn't bring myself to accept it. It was all too shocking. By the time I arrived at City Cafe at the end of the day, I felt scared, like I had never felt scared before. I'll always be grateful Harry was there.

It would take a long time to explain my relationship with Harry, a staunch Republican conservative, local tycoon and former mayor of lovely downtown Noho, so suffice it to say we were dear friends but never lovers. We sat at the bar and drank as only Irishmen can, and watched the horrifying developments for a really long time. That night, as we stumbled out of the bar, I did something I had never done before. I asked Harry to spend the night with me. For the first in my life I was afraid to spend the night alone.

In the intervening years we drifted apart but for me, the hero of this tragic day will always be Harry H. McColgan, who crawled into my bed and just held me close through that long confused night and made me feel safe again.


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