The line to go through security is long. Surrounded by people, I work my way through it alone, mentally replaying the last time I walked these steps. Just when my fatalism overwhelms me—when I start to think maybe everything is the same now as it was ten years ago—a TSA agent reminds me I need to place my Docs and any electronic devices I may be carrying into grey plastic bins to be x-rayed. It’s not a foreign concept to me—I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done this before. It’s strange only because I didn’t do it then. It finally occurs to me ten years ago, there was no need. The last time I flew out of Washington was in 1999, when we’d never suspected terrorists would use airplanes to bring down buildings.

I stay on the hard airport seat long after I re-lace my Docs, just thinking. I know where Edward was when the Challenger exploded—that we’d discussed many times—but I have no idea where he was on September 11. And I want to know more than anything—after all, he’s a patriot first and foremost. Knowing how that day must have formed him, I reach for my phone and dial.

“Is everything okay?” he answers, almost in a panic.


“I don’t understand.”

“I went through airport security,” I say.

“Did they hassle you?”

“No, nothing like that. I had to take off my Docs.” I paused, feeling like an idiot. “And the last time I flew out of DC I didn’t, and it got me thinking how much the world has changed since then…”

He sighs. “I know.”

“Where were you…you know…when the Towers came down?”

“Springfield, Illinois.”

I’m unable to hide my relief. “Oh, thank god. I thought of you then, of Alice. I panicked. I wanted to call, but I didn’t know how–”

“It would have been okay, you know? I mean, I would have been upset if you’d said, ‘I just wanted to make sure you didn’t die. I still hate you. Bye!'”

“I’d never…”

“I know,” he says. “Even if it upset me, I would have understood.”

“We’ve wasted so much time,” I tell him.

“We have.”

“Never again.”

“I won’t let us,” he says. “I promise. Now go catch your flight. I love you, and I’m waiting.”

“Until I land?”

“No, Izzy. Forever.”

“Promise?” I ask.

“I promise.”

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  1. on 03 Mar 2011 at 12:55 pmJenn

    I have never reviewed fan fiction before, but I had to respond to this. It brought up so many memories of how I felt those couple of days while I waited to be sure that all of my loved ones had survived (they did not). You are a wonderful writer and I have enjoyed everything you have written.


    Valentina reply:

    comments like yours are why I write. Thank you, truly.