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