I have been catching up with my emails this morning, and one referenced that it was 11 years ago today that planes flew into the World Trade Centre.
I knew the anniversary was today, I just forgot that it was 11 years ago.
Like many, I know exactly where I was when I heard about it. I was driving through the Loire Valley, in a Blue Peugeot 306, on holiday with my husband. A holiday, of which all that was planned, were the start and end dates. We had a tentative route, that covered the whole of France, but nothing set in stone, if we liked somewhere we stayed longer and if we didn’t like a place, we just turned and left (this was done at Bordeaux, as even the lure of delicious wine wasn’t enough for us to want to deal with the concrete jungle of roads that greeted us)
I digress; on September 11 we were driving through the Loire Valley, I had the map, and we decided to stop there *points to a little village on the map near Orleans*. We arrived just as the wee museum decided to close for lunch, most civilised of it, so whilst waiting for it to re-open. We stopped off at the side of the road, next to some vines, and had some lunch ourselves, more than likely; du pain, du vin et des riettes, with some cherry tomatoes, a big chunk of cheese, something like that. A wee bimble around the museum, which was all about wine making, and we were back on the road. It was sunny, we had a lot of miles to travel to get to our destination of Cognac, so we put on the radio, yet all I could hear were the words; Les Etats-Unis. I was in France, trying to immerse myself in French culture,I didn’t want to know what was going on on the other side of the world, so instead of trying to understand what was going on I switched off the radio and put a CD on.
On our arrival at our rather lovely hotel, I remember flopping onto the bed, lying back and flicking through the channels on the tv. I was really confused, as I wondered why every French channel (as that is all the was available) had the same disaster movie on every channel. I kid you not, this is exactly what I thought. Even after realising it was the news, I did not take on board the gravity of the situation, neither did I appreciate how this act of violence would impact, both directly and indirectly our lives to come.
Instead we walked to a wee restaurant, I sampled my first Pineau, ate poached fish with rice, and Crème brûlée. I remember the fish as I wasn’t feeling well and wanted something light, and it was a standing joke that if Crème brûlée was on the menu I’d choose it. I was performing a mini taste test round the country, this one was above average.
It was only the next morning, as I read the French papers, did the enormity of the event start to sink in. The frivolity of the previous day paled into insignificance, as the realisation of the numbers killed or injured was being taken on board.
The thing that struck me today was that was 11 years ago.
A lifetime ago.
I was a different person back then, I had been very happily married for almost four years. I had just gotten over a major depressive episode, but was fighting back. On my return to Scotland I was to start, what would lead onto, my most favourite job to date. I was yet to have the responsibility of children. I had some good close friends and was about to make more, who are my core of extended family today. I was fat, I was on drugs for the depression that were killing me, but I was, oddly happy. My husband was in the Navy, often away, though tried to be home for as many weekends he could, we were as much as we could be inseparable.
Move forward, now I have two wonderful children, a husband who comes home from work every night, a bank balance that is far from healthy, more close friends. All good things, yet I reflect and think, wow, that was 11 years ago.
It is not the youth that I think back to, it is the hope, the memories remind me of hope for the future. As certain parts of the world are mourning the loss of those killed, me included. I am also mourning the loss of that girl and appreciating her evolution to woman.