I was in Michigan visiting my parents with Saint James. My dad was at work, my mom was playing tennis, Doctor Dash was back in Minneapolis. We had not spoken yet that day. Cup of hot coffee in hand, I was trailing Saint James as he toddled around the house – the way we do when our first born is just one year old. My parents have beautiful Brazilian cherry wood floors, pristine and uncreaky compared to ours. Both of us in bare feet, we passed through elongated rectangles of sun and shadow, Saint James on the balls of his chubby feet, me back on my heels. The only sound I remember was the black lab’s nails clicking on the floor as she followed us – making a haphazard parade of three. Sasha moved up near Saint James and I nudged her to the side so she wouldn’t knock him over, sloshing some coffee on the floor. I went to get a paper towel and that’s when the phone rang. It was my mother. Viste la tele? She sounded out of breath, but it could have been the tennis. I turned on the TV in my parents’ bedroom and watched, not understanding at all what I was seeing. At that point, both planes had hit and the footage being replayed had the look of fiction. Of an action flick. Roiling smoke, balls of fire. Diehard. I ran to scoop up Saint James, put him in the room with me and shut the door. I sat on the bed to watch and listen, because this needed to be explained. What about the people above the holes? I thought of being in my office in Boston, overlooking the harbor – what it would feel like for my building to be pierced through the heart like that. I didn’t see the falling people until later. I had to be told by the voices on TV. My mom hadn’t gotten back from the club yet when the towers crumbled, slowly, almost gracefully, the buckling buildings seeming to elicit a gasp of horror from the universe. Or maybe it was just my own.

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