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Better Off Forgotten

It's odd the things that stick with you across the decades.

I first read that our individual memories about the events of 9/11 are likely not completely accurate several years ago. While our collective memories are probably pretty spot on, details about what we were doing or who we were with and such get lost. It's been proven over and over again that even though we work hard to remember, there are parts of the day that are lost.

I can say with certainty that my memory goes back pretty accurately for 11 years -- I blogged about where I was and such on the 5th anniversary. But the pieces that fell away during that 5 years can't be picked up. I only remember the gist of phone conversations and the entire evening is lost in the darkness. Which hotel did I stay in that night? In what city? I'm not certain.

What is certain is that I was in Boston for work. I had meetings in the morning with accountants and such about a systems integration, and then training for that new system scheduled for the afternoon. By the time I reached the office, the first tower had already been hit. Of all the things that stick with me to this day, a little conversation from when I first arrived at the office keeps sticking.

And sticking.

I walked towards a desk and spoke with a few women. I commented about how it was such an awful day. One replied, "I know. I can't believe we have to reenter all of these journal entries."

I knew immediately she didn't know that a plane had flown into a tower. I knew she didn't have any idea what was happening outside of the walls of the office. But while I fully recognized that her words weren't coming from a place of callousness, they felt cold and heartless.

To this day, I often wonder if she remembers the exchange. I wonder if it gives her pause. I wonder if she wishes she could take her words back, a little like I often wish I could forget them.

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