12 years ago today I drove an ex-girlfriend to the airport. We were never going to see each other again. At least that’s what we thought.

September 11th, 2013, 9pm

We had broken up over the summer, and not in a good way. She was back for a week to close the books on her apartment and officially discharge from college. Then she was going back to Japan. I had agreed to drive her to the airport. We said our goodbyes and that was it.

I pulled into the driveway and got out of my car. It was a quiet morning, but in hindsight perhaps it was just a regular morning. The same as the day before. It seemed quiet in relation to the utter chaos we were about to be thrown into.

As I walked up to the door I could hear the phone ringing. Then It stopped. As I turned the key it started ringing again. I knew it was just a phone and that inside was just a small micro-chip, programmed to produce the exact same tone, day after day, as long as it has power running through its cords. But on this particular morning, if such a thing is possible, it rang frantically. I picked up the receiver. It was her.

She had been crying. “My flight’s been cancelled” were the first words she managed to get out. “There are so many people. The woman told me to leave – to go home. There was an explosion. I need you to pick me up.” I got back into my car, turned the ignition and then flipped on the radio. I drove East down an eerily empty Route 66 towards Reagan National Airport. I picked her up and we drove back in silence, listening to the radio. There was no traffic, which I was thankful for.

And there we were: two ex-lovers, brutally forced to reopen what had been sealed shut. We ate our meals together, shared a cigarette here and there but very little was said. What ensued felt like 2 weeks, but could very well have been just a few days, of waiting, awkwardly, in silence. Waiting for news to break. Waiting for emails and phone calls to come. Waiting for what would come next. Waiting for the planes to fly. Just waiting.

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Johnny Strategy

スプタマ編集長。Editor of www.spoon-tamago.com. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Tokyo, now come full circle.

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