How Awake Are You?

Five years ago, I woke up to a beautiful bright sunshiny morning.  I stumbled through the sitting room like a zombie on my way to the kitchen for caffeine.  It was a few minutes past 6 AM in Seattle.  Martin asks me, “How awake are you?”  In my fog, I realized that all is not well.  He turns me away from the small TV in the sitting room and makes me a cup of tea.  Made sure I had a few hits of caffeine before allowing me to see the images on the television.

It was a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.  I could not tear my eyes from the little TV screen.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Martin and I huddled on the couch, in each others arm, in complete disbelief.  Then the second plane hit.  It dawned on us that is no accident.  We cried.  We held each other.

That night, Martin and I went to mass for the first time since college.  It was standing room only in the cathedral.  The cathedral was a block away from the Red Cross Blood Bank.  The line to give blood wrapped around the block.

I will never forget those words.  “How awake are you?”  Forever in my mind, they will be linked to the day the unimaginable happened.