It’s that time of the year again, and even though 12 years have passed, we cannot help but think about September 11th, 2001, the day America and the world changed forever.
Regardless of where you are from or what you believe, everyone is familiar with 9/11 or 911 or September 11th in some way, shape or form.
I was 25 years old that beautiful almost-Fall day. What a young, incredible age. Sometimes I remember it well and other times, I can barely recollect.
Twenty-five as an age sounds young because it is young. Back then, I lived from moment to moment without a care in the world except to think about what delicious meal I would eat next or what bar was calling my name when I left work in the evening.
On September 8th, and the days leading up to it, my only thoughts were my sister’s wedding and wearing a dress that had just been tailored courtesy of the seamstress at Windows on the World. Of course, I was also stoked about giving my maid-of-honor speech at the rehearsal dinner.
Nothing was on my mind but a fun-filled weekend of total bliss. Because I was young and carefree and beyond happy, life was absolutely grand.
It is truly amazing how one tragic moment can change everything and everyone.
In one blink, I, Inie Simmons Holderness, didn’t feel young anymore. In one second, in one crazy moment, I started feeling very old.
My world as I knew it completely got rocked. It got rocked so hard that for a long time I had trouble speaking in complete sentences.
In one blink of an eye, in one short blip on the television screen, I totally forgot about myself and what I was going to do and all of a sudden, I started thinking about the world and the people in it and all of the pain it must be experiencing to do something so awful, to feel something so awful, to hurt something so awful.
I stopped caring about who said what about who or if the vintage in Bordeaux was going to be the vintage of the century. I stopped wondering about what job was the very best one or if I was invited to the latest and greatest cocktail party. I stopped having dreams about when I would get married and how many bridesmaids I would have.
I aged. I aged tremendously, and I aged quickly.
Fast forward to the eve of September 11th, 2013.
My husband and I live in Tarboro. We have two children. We live in a house in a small town, and we operate and own our very own restaurant.
I go to church–my husband makes fun.
I pack lunches–my husband plays mixed doubles.
I learned how to drive a car and not wreck it–my husband has learned to make pimento cheese and chicken & waffles.
Life is completely different.
I don’t have roommates, and the friends I socialize with on a regular basis are not the same ones as 12 years ago.
If I had to guess, that’s the case for most people.
Life has changed, and all of us have had to change with it.
It’s sometimes difficult to think of what might have been.
In fact, I try not to think about it.
Of course, when I look back on that day, there is one constant.
That constant is the father of my children.
Stephen has been there through it all: through the very lows and the super highs. He has let me be, and he has let me come home to the place I was always meant to be. That’s a pretty amazing constant, don’t you think?
He knew me when I was completely different than I am now, and he has continued to love me for better or for worse.
About once a year, the two of us will reminisce about all of the people we miss from our days at Windows on the World. We will tell funny stories; we will share a certain occasion where a memorable event occurred; and as always, I will shed a tear or two.
We cannot stop time, and that is the beauty of life. It keeps going no matter what.
My life did not stop twelve short years ago.
It just changed, and when it changed, I changed too.
As for the past and who I was, it is definitely hard to remember.
But as for the people and all those who made such an impact on my life while I worked at Windows, I will never ever forget.