My mother was born on September 11th. A fact that remained unremarkable until 2001. On September 11th, 2001, I know I had ordered her a birthday cake I was going to pick up after work, and as I was writing this I realized I have no memory of whether I picked it up. I don't remember.
That night my mother vowed she would never celebrate her birthday on the 11th again, and for ten years she held true to that and we always celebrated it on the 10th or the 12th, depending.
But about a decade later I told her that she was born on September 11th decades before 2001, and we should go back to celebrating her birthday on her birthday. She agreed.
This year was the 20th anniversary of course, and for the first time in a long while. I read one of the thousands of articles published about it. I chose a piece published in the Washington Post that had originally been published about a week after the 11th, and interviewed some survivors when the horror was still fresh for them.
Or, is it always fresh for them?
I don't know but I started feeling the crushing anxiety of that day wash over me while reading it. Living on Long Island there was a proximity of course. My fiancé was in Manhattan that day, and I had no way of knowing whether he was in the towers, a place he frequented weekly because one of his largest clients, the Port Authority, was located there.
It took me half the day to finally connect with him on the phone, because you really couldn't get a call to go through. I remember that vividly. The phones. The phones. Everyone was calling everyone at the same moment, at the same moments, then, more desperately, at the same hours.
My fiancé was alright and had made his way out of Manhattan by time I got a hold of him and was on his way back to me.
My best friend worked at Deutsche Bank directly across the street from the towers, and was on the street when the plane hit. She was one of the ones we all saw running, covered in dust, escaping downtown. She saw bodies fall around her. She had PTSD for years, and she still has it which is evident whenever a plane flies too low over us.
I remember that night and for weeks after, I couldn't sleep at night because all I could see, and feel, were the human beings jumping from the buildings. I knew how close they were, and I could feel their falls as I tried to sleep, often jerking upwards from feeling as if I was falling myself.
But these are the things I never think about anymore. I never have to. I didn't lose anyone, in the end, and life went on. As life does. And then two decades passed, and so it came to be I was at Lombardi's on the Bay in Patchogue celebrating my mom's birthday 20 years after September 11th 2001, having shook off my earlier unease reading the Post article.
It was generally a great night, my mom, myself, my aforementioned best friend, and her mom. We've known each other almost all our lives.
I couldn't get the table I wanted by the window, but that ended up alright as it was really noisy in that room, which I like, but our mothers don't.
But then there was a dog that two women came in with, right in my line of vision, and it was licking its ass. I have to stop to tell you I don't like dogs or pets of any kind. Even though I would never hurt any animal, or allow anyone else to, in this country, not liking them makes you worse than a serial killer.
And I definitely do NOT like dogs around when I am eating. The manager must have saw my face because he came over to tell us that it was a "support" animal and that he had asked.
I gave him my bitch face, because I really don't care. Let me tell you something...I have been around seeing eye guide dogs, and they don't lick their asses, and they don't jump up on their owner's bodies and beg for food. That's what this support animal was doing. Neither of the women were blind, and my friend said it might be an "emotional support animal."
But I believe the woman who told him that was a fucking liar, who thinks her dog is her child and that I should be forced to have my expensive dinner ruined watching her child lick its own ass while I'm eating.
He asked. Sure, and go ask people if they are vaccinated they'll tell you yes too.
People are fucking liars, and it's worse now than it's ever been. They elected the biggest, most pathological liar in the country to the highest office in land, and they worship him because they know he's a liar. They love it.
Their ends justify their means. It's all about them. That's the country we live in. Period.
I had to have 3 bourbons that night. After 1 I was calmer, and after 2 I was able to forget about that animal and her dog.
And we laughed a lot, and my mom really loved her night.
And so 20 years after September 11th, 2001, the night I couldn't sleep because all I could see were the falling bodies 50 miles west of me, I went out to celebrate my mom's birthday and obsess about a lying bitch and her ass-licking dog. I somehow stopped myself from making the biggest Karen scene ever, and that was only because it was my mom's birthday.
Because life goes on. Because it has to.