In the moments after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, people inside reached for their cellphones. Some of them were groping their way toward stairwells; others had already realized their lives were about to end. Many passengers aboard the four hijacked airplanes also phoned home one last time. Most of them said the same thing to the people they called: “I love you.” For some those words were full of memories, for others a final tribute to what might have been.
In the minutes and hours that followed those tragic events thirteen years ago, cellular networks and land lines across the United States and around the world were swamped with calls. Shock and grief were shared, the latest news exchanged. Many of those conversations ended with the simple phrase: “I love you,” each of us hoping it would not be our last chance to say them.
As Thornton Wilder wrote, “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” Although we often think of love as a hearts-and-flowers thing or that warm, fuzzy feeling we get from softly focused ads featuring babies and puppies, Wilder’s words remind us that love is so much more—it’s the only thing, it’s everything.
These days I think of my cellphone as a tether. It may not save my life—although numerous lost climbers and hikers would attest to its lifesaving properties—but it affords me the opportunity to tell family and friends I love them no matter where they are, no matter where I am. And that’s a pretty decent trade for some annoying ringing and chiming, in my opinion.
My novel, Yard Sale, is available from Amazon.