12 Years Ago Today

I was in the Peace Corps when it happened. I lived on the fifth floor of a block house in rural Lithuania and I didn't have a television. We were seven hours ahead of New York/EST. I finished teaching for the day. Walked home, washed the day off and played guitar for a while. I walked across the square to the grocey store. Tomas was one of my best students. I think I was looking at cornflakes. He said in Lithaunian, "Cy, the towers in New York are on fire." I had no idea what he meant because the word tower doesn't translate to Towers. He kept going on and on, I thought he was joking. He was always joking. Then something about the Pentagon. None of it made sense. "Come to my house."

I rode in the back seat of his father's car. He and Tomas were silent in the front seats. What's the joke I wondered. Tomas was always joking. When we pulled into the driveway I started to think something was really up. The joke would have happened by now?

The living room was dark. Tom's mother and little sister sat silently looking at a small television screen. The screen was indiscernible. After a few moments I realized we were watching dust clear. The second tower had just fallen.