It used to be that I was completely fine with talking about September 11th and my experience with it, except in the weeks before the anniversary. If you tried to talk to me about it then, I would be eerily calm at first talking about it... Then burst into tears when I got to the part about the only other New Yorker I've ever known to be just as punctual as myself...
My friend David. Or as we called him, "Swede"... Because he was from Sweden.
This is a photo of us on a Friday night in January 2001. I was 23, he was 24. And this is what our group of friends did on Friday nights in Williamsburg, Brooklyn... We'd hang out at Mugs on Bedford Avenue, drinking a few pints that our poor-salaried souls could afford.
This photo is very precious to me. I remember the exact moment it was taken by my friend, Emily. Though I can't recall what David and I were chatting about at the time... But it was likely something about our workweek, and how it had just come to an end.
David was kind to everyone. And he was quietly inspirational to us as well. He loved to travel, and did quite a bit of it for someone so young. I would run into him in the most random places in New York City, and it was always a laugh when I did. He could be counted on at all times. He was never negative. Always hopeful.
And of course, punctual... And with a good work ethic. Which, sadly, is part of the reason he's not with us today. Having gone into work early that day, to the 100th floor. He had just arrived back in the States from visiting his family in Sweden.
I think that even though the whole world lost David in such a cruel way, I am grateful to the order of the Universe that he got to have such a happy visit home with his family one last time.
My views on life and death have shifted largely in the past eight months. Mostly, what was always an underlying feeling of what death is, what life is, and what I should be focused on, has been reaffirmed. So I know that David is with us.
But I so would have loved to see the person he probably would have continued to be... Kind, well-traveled, quietly witty, loyal...
So now, I only ever cry about my September 11th experience the evening of the 10th. Part of it is because he is gone and I feel we have lost out on some beautiful physical energy that he provided for us... The other part is because I am grateful I got to experience and be inspired by him...And still continue to be.
Even after 13 years.