Then, at night, images of the World Trade Center entered my dreams at least twice a month, for the next nine years.
It’s no wonder I dreamed about these iconic buildings, buildings I grew up with, beamed with pride at.
But the last time I saw them was looking out at them from my grandmother’s hospital window. It was July of 2001. Though they passed away years later, my grandparent’s health in earnest began to fail that summer. As I held her hand,I said to her “Hey, at least you have a great view of downtown. Look at the Towers. Look how beautiful they are.”
And they were on that day, across the East River. So crisp a view.
And just a few weeks before September 11, my dad had a heart attack. He did survive, to teach, to live, to continue biking and traveling, and enjoying his grandchildren. But I think it was the attacks of 9/11 that truly broke his heart.
So, is it any wonder my brain created for years images of the World Trade Center?
Sometimes in my dreams I would be falling, floating up, up, up, past desks and cubicles and giant, narrow office windows.
Other times, I’d be in an elevator, thinking, I shouldn’t be here, I need to get out of here.
In some dreams, I’d be outside, and there they were, the Twin Towers, just there, like they were a backdrop in a movie.
Or, they would appear as ghost buildings with police barricades around them. I’d walk past them and yell at them. Go away. You are gone. You shouldn’t be here any more.
Upon wakening, I wouldn’t always remember that I dreamed right away. Of course, it would hit me in the middle of my day. I’d be in the cereal aisle at the supermarket, and I would stop dead. Cold. Oh, God. I dreamed about them. I dreamed about the Towers again.
But now, 10 years later, the dreams have stopped. They stopped when Osama bin Laden was finally, justly, wiped from the face of the earth. They stopped when finally, Ground Zero was no longer just an empty, gaping hole but the beginnings of the newly emerging Freedom Tower. New York is rising again.
I know that putting a building back up cannot bring back the souls lost on 9/11, but it is my hope that this new, so carefully thought out complex of buildings and memorials can help ease the dreams and memories of so many of the families from tomorrow and onward. I wish them only the sweetest of dreams.