September 11, 2001... I was a graduate student at the University of South Carolina. It was my third and final year of my dual master's degree program. I remember the weather was absolutely perfect. The skies were clear and gorgeous. The temperature was comfortable. I was sad that I was on my way to spend the day in a weird building doing something that didn't really amount to much, other than credit for showing up that day. I was wearing a short black skirt, black tights, and a bright blue blouse. I was thinner and prettier back then, too.
I remember my colleague hearing over the radio about the first World Trade Center tower being struck. She was appropriately dismayed. I was hunched over an ancient computer, looking up information about medical schools. I was looking at how much medical schools cost for a cost effectiveness study my field instructor wanted to undertake in order to show what medical doctors have to lose when they lose their medical licenses due to drug and alcohol addiction.
A little while later, my colleague told me about the other tower. And then the Pentagon was hit. I was numb by that point, realizing that our country was under attack. I also realized that my online friend, with whom I had just spent a glorious offline Labor Day weekend the week prior, was in the Pentagon. Our Labor Day had been magical. I went up to Virginia to visit my Granny. He came down and spent the weekend in a hotel. We went out to dinner and visited beautiful Goshen Pass, where we went swimming. We had a fantastic time. Granny, who was at that time 95 years old and still sharp as a tack, told me I should marry this man.
And now, here it was about ten days later and he might be dead... All day long, I wondered and worried.
I called my mom and explained. She had never heard me talk about my new friend. Being an experienced Air Force wife, my mom told me not to expect to hear from him in awhile. As soon as I got off the phone, he popped up on Yahoo! Messenger to let me know he was fine.
A few months later, we were engaged. Ten years after that, we're about to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I love him more today than I did back then. We've been through a lot and genuinely love and appreciate each other. I'm so glad I got the chance.