Remembering 9/11

I was working in our restaurant when a customer burst through the door and asked if we had a TV. We did not, so he ran to his shop and brought us a little black and white one, the kind with the old rabbit ears. It was the quietest that restaurant had ever been, the most food ever left on plates, and the tips were sparse. The only hollow sounds were those of burners clicking, ventilation blowing. Even the newscasters left many silent spaces between their attempts to speculate and explain. There was no explanation. Nothing could make sense of anything we were seeing. The laughter and the joy and the community camaraderie you could always find at our restaurant were gone in an instant. Like a giant vacuum had come in and sucked it all away, and it never did get its life back. I’m sure there are others that were much more closely impacted that still feel like they’ve never gotten their lives back. The restaurant industry was hit particularly hard, however, when (what felt like, and in some ways probably was) the world decided they wanted to hold on to whatever hadn’t been lost, eat at home, be with their children, gather close around the family table again. Our restaurant was too young and couldn’t bear the sudden downturn in business that shut off the summer season so soon and so finitely. Sadly, we had to close the following April, almost exactly three years after we’d opened. We should have closed the previous November, and to this day we feel the financial ramifications of not doing so. But we were worried about our employees through the winter, and it was so hard to let go of the dreams, the intentions, the maybes, the what-ifs. Had we not closed when we did, I believe with every piece of my soul that my son would not be here. Infertility was a battle I fought every day we owned that restaurant. I had a miscarriage on a morning that no one was coming in to open and cook and be ready for customers at 6 a.m., but me. I was bleeding. I knew it was happening. But I couldn’t leave. We’d been trying four years at that point. The month after we closed though, after my pH was suddenly, magically in balance absent the daily stress of operating the restaurant, which has an adverse chemical impact on the body, I saw my bluebirds, and I was given hope. We traveled to England for my husband’s work. That’s what the UK was called when I was a little girl, and it was the homeland of both of my maternal grandparents—there was no question, I was going. Even amid all the money troubles we had like so many other restaurant owners across the country, I felt such a connection to my heritage and like my personal healing had truly begun. Just a few short months later, after six long years—72 some months of disappointment—I had reason to take a pregnancy test again, and it was positive. Even though we lived in a world that was broken and crazy, for us the Universe had finally aligned, and I knew it was meant to be. Because I believed so deeply in the omen of those bluebirds sent by my Gramps. Because tragedy and struggle happen, but life is for the living, and it goes on. And every day that we wake up. And we throw off our covers. And we set our feet on the floor. Has the potential to be beautiful. God bless this one.

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