This was the color of the sky on September 11, 2001. Everyone talks about the blue of the sky that day. (I was looking through some pictures, and found this, from last September in Paris.)
The roll of film in my camera (imagine that!) that day was black and white, so I don't have any pictures of the sky, but this was the color. Truly, it felt like a mockery, how visible the columns of smoke were from downtown.
I left the apartment on the morning of September 1, 2011 and headed to the subway. It wasn't until I walked a few blocks that I glanced up at the sky. It was exactly this blue. Oh, perfect, I thought. That's just great. My throat got tight and my eyes teared up. It's gonna be an interesting couple of weeks. I said just that to my therapist, later in the day.
Honestly, I've always felt like a bit of a fraud, having feelings about it. I was two miles north of the World Trade Center that day. I didn't know anyone who died. I didn't know anyone who was physically hurt. I didn't have to evacuate my dorm, even. I have friends who saw people jumping. I have friends who ran from balls of pulverized concrete and asbestos, up Chambers Street.
My therapist (who was my group therapist 2004-2006) remembered that "it really affected" me. I assume that's because my eating disorder really kicked into high gear afterward, after it had been lazing its way toward clinical significance during the summer of 2001. But I told her again this past week how silly I felt, tearing up at Lexington Avenue almost ten years later, just because the sky was a certain color blue. I obviously didn't tear up last year in Paris when I took the picture above, or if I did, it was because I was flying home that afternoon.
Wednesday night I stayed up 'til 3:00 reading this week's New York Magazine - their 9/11 Encyclopedia. There's an entry about the blue in there.
I don't know how to describe the feelings I have around September 11th. It was terrifying. It was desperate. It was life-affirming. September 12th was simultaneously one of the most numb and most purposeful days I've lived. September 13th was a Rube Goldberg trap of bad decisions. September 14th school officially went back to normal, but life didn't. We didn't. It was a new normal, I guess.
It's strange to feel that ten years minus ten days later, one is still in that new normal.