I remember.

In 2001, I was twenty years old. I had a college career I could barely maintain, a waitress-sized chip on my shoulder, and a guy who couldn’t decide if he wanted me or not.

I stayed up late and ditched classes and tried to have a devil-may-care attitude towards life, but in reality all I wanted was a bandaid over the growing pains in my relationship with my mom, complete and utter devotion from my boyfriend, and maybe a newer car because my old one had seen better days.

I measured time in days between band practices, ducking out of classes early because I’d skipped too many to keep up with the material, scribbling furiously in notebooks while pushing purple and blond streaked hair out of heavily eyeliner-ed eyes.

The soundtrack of life that year was The Ataris, NOFX, Alkaline Trio, and Bad Religion.  I bled punk rock and stale beer, and lamented about not being understood. I was balancing on that precarious rift between girl and woman, and I had no idea what was going on.

None of us did.

I remember that everything seemed so important, so fucking important, a missed date, a parking ticket, a sold-out concert.

I remember waking up that morning, way too early, out of my comfort zone, and padding into the living room to stand shell-shocked in front of the television. We watched the second plane hit the tower.

When something that seemed life or death pales in comparison with ACTUAL life or death, you’re forced to reevaluate. And you don’t always like what you come up with.

I remember vowing to make better choices, praying as though there were some patron saint of belated resolutions, that if this were just a dream, I’d always remember to feed the cat and call my grandmother and that I’d never ever ditch class again.

Unimportant promises from a confused coed don’t add up to much the grand scheme of things, but penance seemed the least that should be done for such a magnitude of loss.

I had that feeling that day, and for weeks afterwards. Choking, unbearable at times. Heavy pressure on my chest. The weight of the world never distributed so unevenly.

This post was originally published on a blog I used to write many, many years ago. I thought it was appropriate to bring it back today. #NeverForget.