One year ago today, I woke to the sounds of a phone ringing and a muffled television being turned on. I was just a few weeks into my freshman year and, having a brutal math exam scheduled for the next day, I had driven to my parents' house the night of Sept. 10 in search of a quiet refuge from the noise of my dorm.
I remember my mother's gasp down the hall, remember the plain but urgent way she told me, remember pinching myself in my half-conscious stupor just to be sure. Sitting in the most comfortable seat in the house, bundled in my age-old pajamas, surrounded by the artifacts of a thousand nights of studying just like the one before, everything about me unraveled. Eight days before my 18th birthday, my adolescence ended with the force of a passenger plane slamming into a skyscraper.