10 September, 2009
It is a bit of a milestone this year, maybe a natural one. Every year since the terrible events on our doorstep, eight years ago, we have observed the day in some way. Of course, early on it was an unavoidable, all-too present anniversary, marked by massive city-wide events, at first (I remember that first anniversary was spent at my baby art gallery, with neighbors dropping by to light candles, what a community that was). There were several years of the "Towers of Light" that we in the neighborhood loved so much: blue visions shooting into the sky even higher than those top doomed floors had reached...
Then we moved away, from the experiences, from the memories. And the fifth anniversary happened here, and how hard I found it. John was away on business, and how guilty he felt, not to be with me on the day. I went to the Grosvenor Square memorial and could not stop crying. As well, the following year. Then last year, we observed the day so far as to have a dinner with the friends we'd spent a dinner with right after the day... and we remarked the next day that we had not even talked about the events. And this year? Tomorrow will be the Lost Property Luncheon, 30 ladies here at my house to feed, food to prepare, napkins and plates and forks and champagne glasses to gather, business to report. And then tennis, and a drinks party celebrating the start of the school year, at my friend Annie's house. Something has passed, the need reflexively to observe a day. Is that a good thing?
I have read that there's a movement afoot in the States to make the day a permanent... not to say "holiday," as a day to mark. Stores and schools and post office to remain closed. I don't know how I feel about that. We always knew that we were at the closest circle to the events that you could be, without losing someone. So we cannot really say we understand those who want to remember it forever. Yesterday I told Avery that I was thinking of it less and less as the years go by, and she said, shockingly, "I think of it more and more as I get older." "Why on earth?" I asked, and she said, "I was so little when it happened that I didn't understand, and you never let the news be on, for years afterward, when I was little... now I hear people talking about it, and we discussed the relationship between religion and terrorism in RS [religious studies], and I thought a lot about what had happened." Of course she would: she was embroiled, at age nearly 5, in one of the most significant moments in our country's history, and we did, I admit, try our hardest to keep her sheltered from it. It was just instinct.
At any rate, today found me out and about with my friend Gigi, always a tonic (two completely unused PhDs in one room can be only a good thing, I feel), at the Saatchi Galleries looking at truly dreadful art. More on that soon, since I must quote from the catalogue, nothing less than a literal translation will do. But suffice to say at this moment that the beetroot-infused salmon salad at the gallery's Mess is not to be despised, was in fact LOVELY. And to be with a truly intelligent friend (who has, it must be admitted, worked as a copy writer for JCrew and as such can come up with any number of clever words for ANY color she sees) was the best medicine for the anniversary eve, when one hardly knows how to feel. Thank you, Gigi.