Recap: Grandma Bea reveals the story of Libby’s burns on her wrists. She was in a plane crash caused by terrorists when she was very little, and that explained her strange dream and fear of flying. The news reveals the names of the terrorists on September 11, and Libby realizes that they were enrolled in the flight school and she’d met them.

I decided that I would go and try to donate blood. I wanted to do something to help.

Avi called again. “I’m trying to book a flight home, but it looks like no planes are flying in the near future.”

“Just stay safe,” I said. “Oh, but will you make it home for Rosh HaShanah?”

“Let’s hope so. How are the girls holding up?”

“They’re real troupers. You’d be proud.”

A wave of nausea hit me, and I pulled a cracker from the box, said a brachah, and nibbled.

There was so much I wanted to share with Avi but not on the phone. “Avi, my grandmother told me about the accident. You know the one where I got the scars. Now I know the story. I want to tell you, but not on the phone.”

“G-d willing, we will come home as soon as we can, and you can tell me. I have to go now. My cousin needs the phone. He has relatives in lower Manhattan that she’s trying to reach.”

The next morning, I rose early. The first thought I had was the terrorist attack. I thought of all the missing people and of how the planes had rammed into the World Trade Center. How could something like this have happened? I headed to the hospital where they were taking blood donations. I definitely am not the blood donating type. I hate needles and blood. I fainted when I was in fifth grade and a boy told me every detail of his operation. It was so beyond anything I could stand to hear.

I sat in a waiting room with many different people. The television news was on and they kept showing photos of the Twin Towers collapsing. It was horrifying to watch. A Muslim woman was sitting with her son. She announced. “This is not what my religion is about. I am here to donate blood.” I felt bad for her. It did make her religion look bad.

A nurse came around with a basket of granola bars and offered them to the people waiting to donate. I was seated near a man with a ponytail. She stopped in front of me. “You can’t donate if you weigh less than 110. I was flattered she thought I was so skinny. “I weigh 118,” I said.

When it was my turn, I took a deep breath and followed the nurse into the room. The actual procedure went fairly quickly. I didn’t look at the needle and I kept davening to be able to do it.

During the whole procedure, I kept my eyes closed and davened to be able to do it. Baruch Hashem, I did it.

Later that night, I found out that the blood donations were not so needed because sadly so many had perished. Avi called and I spoke to him and the girls. They were all anxious to come back home.

“Sorry the vacation ended like this,” I said.

“Hashem is in charge. I think a lot of people will start reevaluating their priorities after this, “he said.

Did you speak with your parents again?” I asked.

“Yes, we had a good talk. Mrs. Lerner and Mr. Lerner both called, and the girls had good talks with their parents.”

“I’m glad,” I said, wishing I was totally glad and not dreading when the girls would be leaving, which was actually soon.

The next few days passed, and the news was not good. So many had died. The World Trade Center was collapsed, and firemen and police officers lost their lives. Photos were posted of people who were missing.

Avi called. “It looks like we’ll be here for Shabbos, Libby. I’m sorry.”

“Your parents and Daniella are coming here for Friday night dinner.”

“That’s good. I’m glad you won’t be alone.”

“Me, too, and Grandma is still here. Her flight was canceled.”

“What about Rosh HaShanah?” I asked.

“With Hashem’s help, I will get us a flight,” he said. “Keep davening.”

“Are you nervous to get on a plane now?”

“I will have to have emunah and do it.”

I had a doctor’s appointment the next day. I left the office, my heart singing. Our prayers, our hopes, Hashem was bringing us a beautiful brachah. I couldn’t wait to tell Avi in person.

To be continued…

Susie Garber is the author of the newly released historical fiction novel, Flight of the Doves (Menucha Publishers, 2023), Please Be Polite (Menucha Publishers, 2022), A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishers, 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers, 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials and features in Binah Magazine and Binyan Magazine, and “Moon Song” in Binyan (2021-2022).