Four years ago on this day I was working at the Humane Society of New York. I was an animal care attendant. Basically, I cleaned kennels in the HSNY clinic, fed animals following their strict dietary needs, and tried to make them happy. No small task. We didn’t have a television in the clinic, so I listened to events unfold on the radio all day while I worked and hoped it was some sort of War Of The Worlds-like hoax.
The mass exodus of people walking across the Queensboro Bridge right outside of our windows proved my hoax theory wrong, unfortunately.
When I walked home later that evening, the streets were eerily quiet. Though I lived in midtown—in Hell’s Kitchen—the sky was grey with smoke. It wasn’t until I was in my apartment that I saw what happened on television. Images I’d see over and over for the next…well, they haven’t stopped really.
The time afterward was very strange. A roller-coaster of emotions. Sad, frightening, disturbing, of course. But good, too, because our first book, IT HAD TO BE YOU, had just been published. It was nice to have something to enjoy. Especially something so blatantly gay, after being told by the Red Cross that they didn’t want my homosexual blood. Four years later, they still don’t want it.
A lot of people ask me, or just assume, that I left NYC and moved to Houston in October 2001 because of September 11th, but that’s not true. I’d decided to move before that, and actually considered staying in NYC because of the World Trade Center attacks. I loved that city, and wanted to stick around and make it feel better somehow. Unfotunately, I couldn’t afford to live there anymore. I couldn’t afford to live there before either, but that’s beside the point.
This morning, I woke up to the sight of River, the dog with the golden liver, hovering above me and panting happily, waiting patiently for me to get up and feed him. For a brief second, I felt sad, thinking about what day it is. But then I hugged River and he let out a little happy moan and lay down next to me, pushing his wet nose into my hand, urging me to pet him. It made me laugh. I rarely laugh first thing in the morning, so it was like River was saying, I’m glad you moved here and put yourself into debt to save me.
This evening, I logged in to my Netfirms email address and found an email from Chris L. of Le Mesa, California, who had just finished reading THREE FORTUNES IN ONE COOKIE and wanted to let us know how much he enjoyed it. I never expected to get a reader email about 3F so soon, since it was just published. Chris L. totally brightened my day, and reminded me that there are some things that I’m doing right; I’m on the right path. It’s all going to be okay.
Thanks, Chris. =)