Growing up in the Bay Area, I always took the Golden Gate Bridge for granted. When I was a kid I walked on the beach, looking at it; the orange coils against the blue sky, sometimes hidden in the fog. It was beautiful. I never imagined it not being there.
Two weeks after 9/11 I was watching the news oh, nine hours a day. I wasn't working, so I was trying to make sense of the senseless. Eleven years later, I still don't have any answers that make sense.
My dad called, suggesting we should walk to Marin via the Golden Gate Bridge. I protested, saying the bridge would be closed. He said it wouldn't. It was either walking with him or watching the news. I threw on a dress and went to the City.
We took the bus. I saw a guard near the bridge. I knew we couldn't walk. Sure enough, the guard told us that no pedestrians allowed. I felt crabby. What a waste of time. The next bus wasn't due for a half hour. Dad put his arm around me, suggesting we go sit for a while. Sure, fine, whatever.
We sat on a bench near beautiful purple flowers. I put my head on Dad's shoulder. The bridge was so beautiful. In my head I heard Jeanette McDonald's voice singing "San Francisco, open your Golden Gate..."