by Ross Sharp

On September 11, 2001, I spent the late afternoon sitting at a bar in Balmain, the Dry Dock Hotel, nursing a few beers and feeling rather bleak about my future prospects, which appeared to be dwindling from “not much” to “fuck all” a little too rapidly for comfort.

A dead-end job I’d had for a few months doing two-fifths of fuck all for not much money that I desperately needed out of, and a new and newly-unemployed flatmate who’d turned out to be a forty-something halfwit who gave the impression he’d never handled a toilet brush in his lifetime and was totally unfamiliar with the workings of a vacuum cleaner.

“Jesus Christ”, I thought to myself, “How can I extricate myself from this situation?”, and I could see no answer to that, it all seemed too hopeless for words.

I went home, a few beers under the belt, made some cursory conversation with the forty-something halfwit, other flatmates were out somewhere, I got myself some food, and went into the living room to watch a little television.

Not much on.

I mute the sound on the box, maybe put a little music on, sit on the floor and read through the morning’s paper.

At some point, I look up at the television, and I see footage of smoke billowing from a tower, and all that occurs to me is, “Library footage. Must be a documentary or something”, and I go back to reading the paper.

Some few minutes later, I look up at the television again, and it’s the same footage.

 “Something is happening”, I think and take the sound off mute.

It didn’t take too long to figure out just what.

Halfwit was in his room, the light on, door closed, the other flatmates had come home and gone to bed.

I knocked on both doors, saying, “Hey. You’ll need to see this. Come out.”

“What?”, they ask.

“Something is happening. Come out. Now.”

They come out, stand watching. Then we all sit. Watching.

We watch till maybe 3 or 4am in the morning.

And the same thought I had on that night ten years ago is the same thought I have now and politics has never had anything to do with it.

Almost 3,000 people just woke up one morning and went to work just like I did and a handful of lunatics killed them for it.

On Facebook just recently, Newsweek asks “What do you think the world would be like had there been no 9/11?”, and someone responds, “My husband would still be alive and my children wouldn’t have to grow up without their father.”

On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in a pub late that afternoon feeling very sorry for myself.

And a few short hours later, I just felt very, very sorry.