Her Story, My Memory: Just Another 9/11 Loss

What Women Really Think
Sept. 11 2009 5:41 PM

Her Story, My Memory: Just Another 9/11 Loss

Alissa Torres lived down the block from me on 9/11. We both had dogs. We both had creative ambitions. She was very pregnant with her son, I had just given birth to mine. We were working on being acquaintances. We were meant to turn into friends. Her husband worked in the wrong tall building; he died , mine didn't. There might be budding friendships that could survive that-but ours wasn't one of them.

I went to her husband's memorial. I wanted to reach for her, but I wanted to give her the privacy I knew she wasn't getting from others. In those days after the towers fell, every New Yorker felt like a victim, and every New Yorker wanted to somehow help a real victim. I know we spoke. I can't imagine what we said.

After her son was born, we sat, once, in the tiny back garden attached to my basement apartment. We didn't talk about Eddie-much. We didn't not talk about him, either. I know it came up. I know I tried to say-not something kind, or something helpful, but something real, and I'll bet didn't really succeed. And that was it. My husband and I moved, Alissa stayed. We lost touch. When I saw American Widow reviewed in the Times , I knew instantly that it was her. When I saw a link to her article this morning, I knew. I think about her more than I have a right to; her story is hers and not mine. We were all only a butterfly's wing away from our knees that morning. We all believe that because we had a meeting in the towers the day before or took a plane from Boston once, that we could have been-and somehow were-the victims. Alissa remains my touchstone for the huge gulf between what could have been, and what was.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.