Nine years and one week ago, I was sitting at a desk in Mrs. Wills's first grade classroom learning to read, a skill that I had mastered long before, but of course, she wouldn't accept that for an answer to her arbitrary reading comprehension question for a homework assignment in "The Cat is Fat" (or like-minded book) I hadn't done. The P.A. interrupted her stare though, as the kids in the classroom looked around. "Katie Lemon, please come to the office," monotoned the secretary, and Katie confusedly gathered her folder, stuffed it in her backpack, and began the walk down the pastel blue first grade hallway. After about five more people were called, in the same manner to the office, Ms. Wills, despite her harsh tones, simply couldn't keep the class from whispering, as one by one, each student was called to the office.
Finally, it was just me and Ms. Wills. What began seeming perfectly ordinary, then coincidental became terrifying. Ms. Wills knew nothing of what was going on, and was as confused as I was, and wasn't putting in any effort to comfort me. I was alone and scared with no one to look to for answers. Finally, I heard, "Julia Griffin, please come to the office; your mother is waiting for you", over the loud speaker, and, having already packed my bag, I got up quickly, and made the lonely walk down the baby-blue and white-tiled first grade hall, into the main hall, with a slightly dirty faux-pebble floor, and into the office, where Allie (we now know her as Meg (music.is.love)) was waiting with my Mom.
The three of us walked out the heavy, bulletproof steel blue doors of the school to my mother's car, parked among at least a dozen others (quite a feat for 11:00 on a september tuesday at the tiny elementary school), where, once we climbed in the minivan, my mother asked us if we knew what Terrorism was. A blur of big words with a few that stuck like ..."World Trade Center", "Taliban", "Hijack", and "Pentagon", I came to my vague, un-life changing childhood understanding of the world that was rising from the ash around me. The images on the television meant nothing. The multitude of words meant nothing. The new security precautions in airports meant nothing: I had only flown once before anyway. Its only now that I can look back and see the pink-skinned pre-9/11 world in all its virgin beauty.