Sep. 11th, 2010

darkluna: (seattle)
One big thing I remember about 9/11 didn't happen that day. It happened when air traffic started again in San Francisco after the attacks.

At the time, I worked in a building that stands right by the bay, by the Dumbarton bridge, in the flight path of planes landing at SFO. I would go up to the 10th-floor balcony to smoke. I was up there when I saw the first plane I had seen in the air since that day. It sounded so loud. There are sounds you only notice by their absence, like the hum of a computer or central heat and air, or planes going over. I'd been living with that absence, and it was almost frightening when it changed.

I stood there and watched that plane as it went all the way past me across the water, down to where I knew the runway was. When I looked down at the people walking on the path by the water, I could see that they had all stopped, and they were all watching the plane too. We all watched it until it was safely on the ground.

I never knew any of those people, never spoke to them, or knew their names or how they felt watching something--a plane in the sky, such a simple thing--that had once been so commonplace that one would never even think about it, but carried enough of a weight in that moment that we all stopped in our tracks and watched its passing. But I would bet they remember that plane.

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ellie

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