The airport is crowded with people. Their chatter harass my ears and so I tune them out. Their voices die down; they now hum like bees.
I gaze down at her, my daughter.
"Daddy," Mary says, "don't go."
"I have to, pumpkin," I say kneeling to her level. "But I'll be back, I always come back."
She looked up at me, her eyes dancing with sadness. I gave her a hug. When I looked up, Marissa was standing there.
"Good-bye, darling. Stay safe. We'll be waiting for you."
I kissed her cheek, memorizing the way it felt under my lips. If only I'd known that that was the last time I'd see my baby girl and my wife.
"Do you have everything?"
I laughed. "Yes, honey. I don't think I've forgotten anything."
"Don't forget that you love me," Mary said.
I smiled. "I love you. Now I have to catch my flight. I have to be at the World Trade Center by tomorrow morning."
Tomorrow was September 11, 2001.