I was waiting in line at the Hopkins Post Office, absentmindedly watching the idiot box someone put up there in the corner to make us forget about time.
We watched the news reports apathetically at first. We had nothing better to do. Then the first plane hit. Then the second. And then everybody forgot why they were at the post office. Baltimore went nuts, the country went nuts, as did many of our friends.
Our friend Darin died that day. A plane—a fucking plane!—crashed into his office. He was so young and the sweet memory of his wedding day was still so fresh.
An antisemitic conspiracy theorist once told me that all the Jews who worked in the buildings targeted for destruction received a phone call on the morning of September 11th warning them to stay away from work:
“That’s why there were no Jewish causalities, John. Not one.” I wanted to punch him, but all I could think about was how sad it was: to be standing here, in the same suit, in the same synagogue.
I kept looking around and thinking: Darin and Devora were married here, right here, just six months ago. The groom’s barber had been a little overzealous but the bride’s dress was divine.
We were just about to leave for the funeral when Anna-Liisa decided to take another pregnancy test. It came back positive. That was Tristan. Our firstborn. What a strange funeral that was: to be so elated and yet so sad, at one and the same time.
Could swear I heard King David singing softly in the temple that day: “You turned my mourning into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
—John Faithful Hamer