“Dream Reunion” and 9/11

“Dream Reunion” and 9/11

It’s not something I wanted to write about, but “Dream Reunion” takes place in October of 2001, only a few weeks after the events of 9/11, so I can’t ignore it.  Especially because Sara’s husband works at the Pentagon, and Sara both lives and works about five minutes from it.

At the end of the previous book, Sara finds out that she’s pregnant (again), and the dates worked out that she’d be due in late September.  The stress of the events of September 11th take their toll on Sara, as you can see in this excerpt…

I haven’t been back to Arlington Hospital since I was sent home three weeks ago.  I can’t help shuddering as the taxi lets me out in front of the emergency room doors…

…what’s going on?  Where am I?  What was – oh, God!  The Pentagon!  We could all smell the smoke, and the sirens haven’t stopped for an hour.  And all the phones are jammed – I can’t reach…

I’m not in the office.  I’m…no, no, no – God, that hurt!  A – a contraction?  But I was in the office.  And now I’m – lying down?  Where?  “We’re almost there, honey.  Just hang on.”  That’s my mother.  She’s – I have to open my eyes, but I’m afraid to. 

I do it anyway.  I’m in a car, in the back seat.  My Mom’s car.  If there was something wrong with me, why didn’t she or Laurie or someone call an ambulance?

All that smoke.  All those sirens.  Because there aren’t any.  They’re all at the Pentagon.  And so is Brian.  Unless Mom’s heard from him.  “Mom, do you know anything?  Has he called?”  I already know the answer.  There’s no way he could have called.  Just because we haven’t gotten any word from him, that doesn’t mean a thing.  He’s fine.  Of course he’s fine.  He’s safe.  He has to be – his son – here it comes again!

That was the worst one yet.  Brian had better be safe.  His son is very eager to meet him.  “Sara?  Honey?”  Her voice is shaky; I can hear fear – and pain – in it.

“I’m – that was a strong one, Mom.  But I’ll – I think I’ll be OK,” I say.  As long as Brian’s safe, as long as he’s not – “Mom, have you heard from him?”  I can’t keep the pleading – whining – out of my own voice.

“Sara, he’s safe.”  She’s just saying that.  She doesn’t know.  How could she know?  I saw it on TV – we all did – the plane went right into the side of the building!  If he was there – oh, here comes…

I think I blacked out for a minute.  My throat is raw – I must have screamed my head off.  My ears are ringing.  There’s a hand – Mom’s hand – on my belly, trying to reassure me.  I can feel the car stopping.  We’re – I don’t know where we are.  Mom never said.  But it has to be the hospital, doesn’t it?  Mom pulls her hand away, and I can’t raise my head far enough to see what she’s doing now.  But I hear a door open, and then slam shut.  She’s getting out.  A minute or two later – it feels like forever – the back door opens, and Mom is back.  She’s leaning over me, grabbing my hands, trying to pull me up.  I take a deep breath and put all my strength into it. 

Just as I’m sitting, and then maneuvering my legs outside and down to the ground, I see the nurse behind Mom, a wheelchair at the ready.  And I can hear sirens – a lot of them, louder and louder, getting closer…   

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