peak:
I was busy much of the day picking up odds and ends of my dress uniform for 9-11 remembrance stuff tomorrow.


valley:
Today is the 10th. Wondering what tomorrow is going to be like has been in the back of my mind all day.

noise:
"Paramedics"
on the Discovery Health channel.

food:
A ham Lunchable.


thoughts:
A little bit of everything...


365.25:
11 Sept. 2001
9-11-01.


730.50:
11 Sept. 2000
I kissed her.
She kissed me.
Or something...

tuesday
09.10.02

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Quote du jour:
"Each happiness of yesterday is a memory for tomorrow."
-- George W. Douglas


September 10, 2000

The tenth that year was on a Sunday night. I'd just gotten back from a trip to Michigan where I saw my aunt inducted into her university's athletic hall of fame. During the trip, I read a story in USA Today about a new book that featured love letters between President and Nancy Reagan. I'd been gathering deep thinking quotes about love and friendship and giving them to
Alex. Something featured in one of the excerpts from the book jumped out at me:

"(The word wife) means a companion without whom I'm never quite complete or happy. It means the most desirable woman in the world who gets moe desirable everyday. It means some one who can make me lonely just by leaving the room." - Ronald Reagan defining what a wife is in a love letter to Nancy Reagan.

If memory serves me correctly, I wrote it on a postcard. I'd planned to mail it to her so that it'd arrive out of the blue... unexpected. As it turned out, however, I had no stamps and she found her way over to
Jonathan's apartment on the night of the tenth. It was supposed to be a big shindig that night -- many friends together to watch a movie -- but it ended up being a couples night.

Only
Macy, Alex and myself showed up. Macy and Jonathan, who most people thought belonged together despite her engagement to another man, spent most of the night together in one part of the house. Alex and I spent our time in another. The four of us did very little together.

At one point,
Alex and I were outside talking on the front step. There was a magic in the air and a unique intimacy in our conversation. It was one of the few moments where I felt she let her guard down and we actually connected. A single star was the only thing in the night sky above and I asked her, "if I wish on that star, will you make it come true?" I was joking. Sort of.

After a bit more talking and some kidding about my wish, she decided that it was time to head home. She went inside
Jonathan's apartment to get some things and then I walked her to her car.

"I think I know where you are headed with this," she said.
Alex will play dumb from time to time, but it's almost always an act. I knew she knew where I was headed the moment the words left my lips... but I'm an antagonist by nature and I don't give in easily.

I asked her what she thought I was after and she countered by asking me what my wish was. I wouldn't say. To be honest, I didn't really know. Certainly, I was hoping to score something in the intimacy category with her... But remember, this whole thing started out as a joke. Finally, she offered up a suggestion: "You want a kiss."

"That's not a bad idea," I replied.

It had been more than a year and a half since we'd kissed. And those kisses before had been wasted in a way. Back then, I was just kissing some girl I liked... but it was some girl I didn't yet really know. Those had just been "date kisses." In the time since, I'd almost come to love
Alex. It wasn't a marriage sort of love, but in teh way you feel about someone when you get to know them... and realize your life just might be better because they're in it. Maybe there was something -- no, certainly there was something -- deeper to it, but I've never succeeded in my attempt to figure that out. I'm not going to start now.

And then we kissed.

It wasn't a peck. It wasn't tonsil hockey. It was just nice. So, then she capped it off by saying, "but that didn't mean anything." She got in her car, she drove away and the "couples night" ended with something that was probably par for the course in the story of
Alex and I.


September 10, 2001

After we watched The Big Lebowski early in the Fall 2001 semester, Monday nights became bowling nights for
Jonathan, Nate and I. None of us were very good (I was easily the worst) but the beer was cold and the company was hard to beat.

We "rolled" the night of September 10, 2001. I can't tell you one unique detail about that night. I have no idea who won. I can't remember how much beer were drank or what we talked about. I do know that, unlike a year prior, no one offered to kiss me that night.

The detail that I do remember is that there were no flags hanging up in the bowling alley on September 10th. Of course, there'd never been flags flying in that joint. Flag lying was something left up for schools and fire stations and post offices. Of course, there's been an American flag hanging on every other support beam in the place ever since that week.

We went bowling one night. The world changed the next day.

Earlier tonight, I was chatting with Mary Ellen online. I sort of threw some words out while I was thinking of this night one year ago. I'm afraid my words were entirely too accurate.

"I used to think [September 10th, 2001] would be the last normal day of my life... but unfortunately, what we call 'post 9-11' has become normal. It's sort of how you forget people who die. You forget what the sounded like. You forget how they looked. Well, I wonder if I'm starting to forget how 'pre-911' felt... And I wonder if we'll ever feel that way again."

September 10, 2002

I'm afraid I have no good 9-10-02 stories. I spent most of the day busy running errands around the metro area. Most of those errands were in direct relation to events planned for tomorrow. I needed a tie, some collar brass and a pair of shoes for my dress uniform. We don't have headgear, so I stopped by the barber shop and got a haircut I didn't absolutely need just to make sure i looked sharp.

Today has been weird for me. As I've gone about my business, the 11th has been in the back of my mind. Every so often, it popped up to the front. I honestly don't think tomorrow will bring any surprises, but nothing seems for certain anymore... And more so than the national or international scene, I'm curious as to how I'll feel tomorrow.

Last year on the 11th, I was a journalist. I was busy that day covering the story as it related to
Oakdale and our campus. Sure, I was a firefighter and my thoughts on that day were with my brothers in NYC, but I was still a paid-per-call guy. I'm on the job for real now. And it all means a little bit more to me now.


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