Then from the bridge, we got our first glimpse of the new skyline. Beth recalls it being like a blow to the solar plexus. We were both getting choked up. Beth started to cry.
Entering our apartment provided a sense of security that only “home” can provide, no matter that everything outside was now different.
But our little adventure was over. Our hurried trip as a family to Toronto, Chicago and back had served many purposes. Born out of the perceived need to deliver a film print and to deliver our son to college, it turned into a family catharsis. We were able to work through our anger, our fears and a whole host of other issues, and to do it as a family. By staying together, we instinctively knew that whatever was to come, we would deal with it… together. And by staying on the move, we avoided sitting in front of the television and wallowing. In other words, we dealt with this new threat in our lives by staying busy.
There was the foul smell of melting plastic (or was it the burning of human remains?) The smell only wafted as far uptown as the upper west side for short periods, but was pervasive further downtown where my office was at that time. It was only later that we learned that the fumes we were breathing most likely were toxic.
We also had to get used to new subway routes that were frequently changed, making Manhattan a much less transportation-friendly place. Then, there was the continued military presence.
But little by little, things got back to something close to normalcy. Life goes on.
I’m writing the last part of this story from the Toronto Film Festival on September 11th, 2011, exactly 10 years after this story began. Among the ironies of this being the case is that I just spent the morning with Tanya Wexler, who is here 10 years later for the world premiere of “Hysteria,” the first film that she has directed since our misadventure with “Ball in the House.”
Thanks to Beth for collecting all the newspapers that are used as illustrations throughout these posts, and for helping me fill in some holes in the story that I had forgotten. Finally, and most importantly, for saying “yes” all those many years ago.
Thanks to Stephen Dyer and Tanya Wexler for also filling in some details…
and to the Toronto Festival for continuing to be my home for one week every September.