Eight years ago this month, my wife and I moved our family 25 miles east of the town we grew up in. The real estate market was just starting to heat up, and we had a tough time finding a suitable home. We visited one open house that was “For Sale By Owner.” The homeowner (an athletic, handsome man, around 40) led us around his cute, yellow Cape Cod style home. The man’s wife (a slender, blonde, soccer mom) tended to their two small children, as her husband opened closets and told us all about the home’s mechanics.
As he led us through his home, I asked him why they were moving. He said that he worked for a clothing manufacturer and was being transferred to Massachusetts. He said that his wife was a flight attendant for American Airlines and could easily transfer from Bradley Airport in Hartford to either Green Airport in Providence or Logan Airport in Boston.
My wife and I really liked the house, but it basically had no backyard and we weren't crazy about the street location either. We thanked the man and his wife for their time, and moved on to the next open house.
Shortly after September 11, 2001, our local ABC affiliate ran a story about the many Connecticut people who had died in the terrorist attacks. One story was about a flight attendant who had recently moved from the Connecticut shoreline to southeastern Massachusetts. A chill went down my spine when they showed her picture...it was the woman from the open house. She was on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the Trade Centers.
When it was learned that the terrorists had slit the throats of the flight crew, the same news station rushed back to the flight attendant's sister's home to get her reaction to the news. I still remember how the cameraman zoomed in on her tear-streaked face, a face consumed in grief. As they say in journalism..."If it bleeds, it leads."
I often wonder: If her husband hadn't been transferred, would she still be alive today?
Was this her destiny? Was it fate?
Steve, a fellow conductor, told me that his wife worked in The Trade Centers in Tower Two. When the first plane hit Tower One, she and her co-workers were ordered to evacuate. They were half way down the stairs when the "all clear" was sounded and an announcement was made to return to their offices. One of Steve's wife's coworkers grabbed her by the arm and said ,"Bullshit! I was here for the bombing in '93 and I'm not going back up there." They made it outside just in time to see the second plane hit their offices.
Another coworker of mine lived in a tight-knit neighborhood in Brooklyn. His next door neighbors were an elderly couple whose granddaughter died that day in the Trade Center. The day after the attacks, the wind shifted and the smoke and debris that filled the city skyline blew into their neighborhood. A lone piece of paper fluttered through the air and landed on this elderly couple's front porch. The paper was a memo from Cantor Fitzgerald, the brokerage firm where the granddaughter worked.
Fate? Destiny? Coincidence?
For more on 9/11, please read last year's post: http://bobbyderailed.blogspot.com/2006/09/september-13th-2001.html