Before and After


Six years ago today my husband and I moved out of Brooklyn. The next day we commuted into NYC from upstate. We took the train to Hoboken, NJ and got on different PATH trains. His train took him to midtown and mine took me downtown to the World Trade Center. It was Tuesday September 11, 2001. Ever since then I’ve always sorted my life into before that day and after that day. I wouldn’t say that September 10, 2001 was my last happy day but I certainly was carefree in a way that I feel I could never be now. Something happened inside of me as I was running for my life after the first plane hit the building practically over my head. One moment I’m window shopping at Century21 and the next moment I’m running into traffic on Broadway and feeling the sidewalk undulating under my feet. I truly thought that I was about to die right there. I thought that bombs were dropping on Manhattan and they practically were. I didn’t know if I’d see my husband again. We married only 6 months earlier. It had taken me almost 35 years to find him and now I felt like I was losing everything.

Now, whenever I look at old pictures I find myself organizing them into a before group or an after group. A couple of months ago, while contemplating my next career move, I thought about giving the ol’ acting thing a try. I pulled out my newest headshot. It was taken in the spring of 2001. My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I told him that I wanted to use it now. “You don’t look like that anymore”, he said. I wanted to disagree with him but when I took a real look at it I had to give in. It’s not that I look so much older now (though lately, I don’t know) it’s that the headshot is definitely a before picture. That version of me had a lot of anxieties – especially that day, the day of the photo shoot I think I had some of the worst stomach cramps that I have ever had – and had certainly had her share of depression and worries but she could hide it a lot better than I can now. That version of me also had never had a child and all the experience and grey hairs (and love and joy and worries) that go along with that.


All in all, I feel like I’m feeling stronger leading up to this September 11th anniversary than I have in all the five years before. Maybe it is the effect of time, gently fuzzing everything. I think almost losing my husband in a car accident and then everything I had to deal with following that this past February has helped me to feel more able to rely on myself and be more self sufficient. I’m still not sure how I’ll be feeling tomorrow. I really don’t want my husband in the city but he’s very busy at work this week and cannot miss the day. It’s not that I think that anything bad will happen (but nowadays you never know) I just want to have the people I most love close by. I wish you all the very best tomorrow. Hug and kiss your loved ones. Hold them close and be thankful.


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