Beautiful Day

Troy and Mike at Chickie's & Pete's 2008

Today is an exciting day. Mike has been collecting DVD’s for a long time and brought out only a minimum amount to California. Mrs. Manfre agreed to sell the rest of them on for credit. After selling them, she let Mike know how much it was all worth – $495 – and it’s just shown up as Amazon credit today. Add my $50 gift card Stephen got me for Christmas, and we are going shopping. Mike’s at his internship and I’m at the apartment, so we gchat as we shop online. When we’re finally done, we’ve spent it all on a good amount of things: a matching brown 5-drawer dresser, 3-drawer dresser and nightstand, a microwave, a microwave cart with a drawer for silverware, PUR water filtration system with refills, a shoe rack, and a hamper for Mike (he’s been using a plastic space bag this whole time). I can’t wait for it all to come in; should take about a week for it to get here. The only other big things we need is a desk and chair for the computer.

I’ve been going back and forth with the Dad who wants me to teach his daughter, Caroline, in March. I keep reading the emails to Mike because I can’t tell if it’s legit or not. “If he asks you for any bank information, then it’s a scam.” Finally, this dude says he’s going to send me a check for the amount I’m being paid, plus the amount that will go to the cab company, and if I can cash it and send the money to the cab company. And there’s the red flag. Well that really sucks. Who does that? Here I am all excited about coaching someone, and this jerk saw my ad on Craigslist and figured he’d take advantage of me. Oh well, moving on. I will find a way.

Tonight, we we meet up for food and drinks at Laurel Tavern with Rich, Tara, Troy, and Troy’s friend Jason. I love this place. Too bad it’s all the way in Studio City. They all make fun of us for not wanting to drive away from Venice. It’s true. I hate driving on the 405 at rush hour. This is the first time I realize that when Mike, Troy, Tara and I are together, we talk about high school a lot. I didn’t notice as much before with just Rich around because he never says anything about it, but now with another person here I’m really conscious of it. It’s funny, too, because the four of us weren’t even really friends in high school. We just love to talk about West Deptford.

The conversation turns to movies, obviously, so Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close comes up, and then a 9/11 conversation. Jason is from California, so I realize this is the first time I’ve spoken to someone about it who didn’t live close to the World Trade Center. He says how disconnected he was from it at the time – it was all the way across the country. It’s funny, because his memories of it are similar to mine. I was extremely disconnected from it. I’m embarrassed to think how I had no idea what was happening and I was a senior in high school. It was third period when I walked into Ms. Fish’s calculus class. I despised calculus, so was excited she had the news on when we walked into the room: a distraction from our lesson. She sort of made an announcement to the class. “They don’t want me showing you this, but I think it’s important.” Ms. Fish was a strict, by-the-book teacher, so it was extremely out of character for her to not do what she was “supposed” to do. Most other teachers wouldn’t put the TV on. We sat and watched. I remember looking more at Ms. Fish than at the TV. She was really upset and concerned about what was happening. I didn’t get it. As we sat watching, the second plane hit. Ms. Fish gasped and I felt like I was watching a movie. This was happening right now? In New York City? I didn’t think people were dying. I saw a plane crashing into a building and didn’t think about people. I don’t know why.

They let us out of school early, so that was cool. I remember it was a beautiful day. September 11 was a perfect day. It was weird how perfect the weather was. The only person I was worried about was Aunt Jackie. She’s the only person I know who lives in the city. I don’t know if my parents found out right away – because all the phone lines were down, but we found out pretty quickly that Aunt Jackie was fine. It didn’t really hit me until that night right before I was going to bed. I had heard, I think from LMonny, that Nick Brandemarti worked in the World Trade Center. I didn’t know Nick, but everyone in West Deptford knew the Brandemarti family, or at least knew of them. Lauren had heard that (I think) Nick had spoken with someone in his family in the afternoon, but they hadn’t heard from him since. I walked into my parents bedroom. Dad was probably sleeping, but Mom was up, watching the news. I told her what Lauren had said about Nick. Her voice caught in her throat or something where I knew it wasn’t OK. That’s all it really took to make me upset. I prayed that night before I went to bed. Still, I didn’t understand what had happened.


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