Nine - Eleven
“Mommy, tell me a story, a funny story.”
Sage tucked Madlyn into bed, pulling the covers up around her small shoulders. “Did I ever tell you the story of how Grampa mistook a spare tire for a suitcase?”
“Did it make it on the airplane?” Madlyn’s satin eyes grew wide.
“Grampa caught his mistake before the tire was checked in,” smoothing down her daughter’s soft brown curls. “Did I tell you the story of how Aunt Abby’s cat got lost in the attic?”
“I want a new story!”
“I don’t have any new stories sweetie, not much happens at the office.”
“Tell me where you were when the twin towers were struck?”
Taken aback by the abrupt question, Sage looked out of the apartment window, over New York Bay towards the financial district.
“I was in history class in college,” remembering how the room erupted into panic. A flashback struck of students whipping out their cellphones trying to reach loved ones, while becoming even more agitated when all they heard on the line was a busy signal. “Why do you ask anyway?”
“We talked about 9/11 in class today.”
Sage exhaled, thinking how she didn’t like her second grader learning about 9/11. Why weren’t the seasons a good enough topic to cover anymore? Kids shouldn’t grow up too fast.
Interrupting her thoughts, Madlyn asked “did we lose anyone in the fire mommy?”
Preparing to answer, she scooted closer to her daughter. “We didn’t lose anyone directly.”
“How did Aunt Abby survive? Didn’t she work there?”
“She went out to buy some coffee.”
“Aunt Abby loves to drink her coffee.”
“Coffee certainly loves her back, it saved her life.”
“Mommy, if the towers were never hit, would Daddy still be alive?”
“I don’t know sweetie,” swallowing the lump forming in her throat. Sage had asked herself that question many times after receiving the news that her husband, Sergeant Logan, would never be coming home again from Iraq.
“Can you tell me the story about how you met Daddy?” Madlyn asked.
“You have heard the story a hundred times.”
“Well, I was in Central Park, eating a sandwich, and a giant white dog walked right up to me and snatched my sandwich out of my hand, almost swallowing it whole. A guy with broad shoulders and dark hair ran over and apologized for his dog’s bad behavior. I told him he had to buy me a new sandwich.”
Madlyn laughed, “that’s my favorite story.”
“Mine too, especially because it has a happy ending.”
“But it doesn’t,” Madlyn said softly, resting her head on her Mommy’s shoulder.
“It does have a happy ending.”
“What’s happy about the end of the story?”
“I have a delightful daughter named Madlyn, and every moment I spend with her, I’m happy.”