A Haunting Sweetness

In retrospect, the weeks leading up to 9/11 were deceptively sweet and full of complexity...


Two pink lines foretold the pregnancy I'd been waiting for.

I called my husband on his cell phone that morning and reached him upstate where he’d taken our five-year-old son to see an exhibit of Alexander Calder sculpture. Over a hundred miles, I gave him the news.

It was the first week of May, 2001 when my doctor confirmed the pregnancy by sonogram. New York City was looking towards a fall mayoral election. The economy held hardy despite dizzying roller-coaster-like lifts and precarious shots downward in the stock market and in corporate earnings. While the collapse of the internet industry completed itself, real estate values clung to peerless highs. Despite some signs of economic instability, opportunities abounded.

My husband had taken a job as supervisor on the renovation of a Rothchild heir’s home on Central Park West. One of the owner’s goals was to construct a refrigerator system for the white wine section of his million dollar wine collection.

A few days later, we stood looking out the window of the loft at the corner of West Broadway and Prince Street on a warm Saturday afternoon when crowds of shoppers flared past our apartment like colorful ribbons and art vendors from small towns displayed their wares like gypsies at a country fair.

Motorcycles with gleaming chrome sidings roared up West Broadway, their New Jersey suburban drivers showing off leather clad bodies with big hard muscles, while on the sidewalks, long-limbed young women scouted the stores in bands of three and four with shopping bags hanging from arms that looked like the long limbs bending off rare and beautiful trees.

There were already signs of change, signs of a coming darkness, that had started with the bizarre circumstances surrounding President George W. Bush’s

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