So…I have been faithful. Every other day since my start date, hopeful or heartbroken, no matter the time, and even at my most overwhelmed, I have posted an entry. That is, until yesterday.
I’d like to say that I was extremely busy making phone calls, researching requirements, visiting City Hall, doing my taxes, and figuring out my finances—but that was Friday, when people are in offices and answering phones. I’d like to tell you that we were at a little Columbian joint in Westbury eating indescribably delicious food with friends—but that was Friday night. Yesterday, we watched Homeland. Our marathon began in the morning and lasted till Saturday Night Live—and was only broken up by three walks (thanks, Lucy, for getting us outside to enjoy the spring preview). We have long talked about having a TV or movie marathon, but guilt had always thwarted us two to three hours in. Not this time. Before I went to bed, I had the urge to confess, so I opened my computer and wrote the title of this blog.
Homeland. I fell asleep on the swell of the waves of the many emotions that word evokes, and I woke up this morning to these memories:
On the morning of September 12, 2001, I had to make a call. “It seems so wrong to be calling about a title search today. This was the day I was supposed to. It feels like it’s not even the same day we talked about. It feels awful. And I feel awful about even calling–but I said I would and I didn’t know if I should. Are you okay? Your family? Friends?”
My real estate lawyer’s family was fine but he was dying to hold his wife and kids, and he didn’t know when or how he would make it from Long Island back to New Jersey. Thankfully, no one he knew had been in the Towers.
John assured me that moving along toward our closing date was exactly what we should be doing on September 12, 2001. Gripping the thread of our old normal, and pulling it through the horrific hole of 9/11 to reinforce the cloth of life after. The new weave, torn and tattered, needed survivors to patch it together. Wednesday morning, we all pulled our own little threads through—pouring cereal, getting dressed, and initiating title searches with heavy hearts. John already understood that we would need to carry on and never forget. I would proceed with the minutia of buying a house because I could—a little piece of land I, a woman in America, could own even if it did take me thirty years. I, a woman in America, could stake a small but growing claim in a property 25 miles from Ground Zero, where rage toward that right still burned black with the bodies of my neighbors.
In Long Beach, we could see the plumes. We could hear the silence through our apartment walls. When the planes resumed their flight path over our block, I was shocked by my own animated fear. Jets now looked cartoonish and threatening, and as I watched one on its straight path toward JFK, I would become fully convinced that it was about to point its nose into a tight curve toward the ground where we were. On lovely fall evenings, we sealed our windows for fear of the fallout from biological warfare wafting across the water from what we reverently call “The City.” Right here, with the burning city in sight, is where I learned to live in that new normal.
When the burning began, I tried to call Steve from work but he didn’t answer. As the first tower fell, he was out surfing, being pulled in again and again by the homeland that wants to hold us. Stay here, keep dry and warm, build a home, carry on in the sun.
And that is still what we want to do. If it means debt, if it means waiting, if it means elevating, we will pull the thread through whatever holes open up and carry on in our Homeland.
We will stay here, keep dry and warm, build a home, and carry on in the sun.