Sunday, September 14, 2003
Sam writes perhaps the most simply honest and affecting thing about 9/11 that I've read since Ian McEwan's piece during the aftermath about the messages people trapped in the WTC left on their loved one's answerphones. How is a 14-year-old (as Sam would have been back then) supposed to deal with distant death if the rest of us don't know how?
At 1pm (there or thereabouts) on Tuesday September the eleventh I was just stepping out of my car; before I turned the engine off someone on Radio Five Live (Simon Mayo?) announced that a plane had hit the WTC. I assumed it must be a microlite or something, stepped out of the car, and went about my business. An hour and a half later I got back in the car and turned the radio back on and the world had collapsed. I rushed home and sat glued to satellite television for the next few hours, trying to make sense of it, gather facts, understand, before going and playing football as I always do on a Tuesday evening. What else was I meant to do?
My business in that hour and a half was death. A schoolfriend of mine had died of cancer. 23, talented, engaged to be married. Dead. Saskia Carter. She'd been at RADA. She was a singer, dancer, actress, poet... You know when obituraries of people who die young say they were "full of life"? I always think that's bullshit. Saskia was. Someone actually did say of her once to me "if you want something doing, ask a busy person - Saskia's the busiest person. She can do anything." And it was true. The hour and a half had been spent discussing her memorial service with the person who'd said that about her; our old drama teacher. In a very real sense, death was all around that day.
A couple of weeks later I went to Saskia's memorial service, felt very strange, left early and then drank myself into a melancholic stupor in the space of barely an hour while watching a shit band made up of more ex-schoolfriends embarass themselves in a pub. 9/11. I still don't understand what it means.
9/14/2003 09:31:00 pm