Bad Translation.

September 11, 2001
Scottsdale, Arizona


My husband called from work to tell me. I didn’t understand until I turned on the t.v.

We had houseguests from Mexico, a mother with her son who was in the U.S. for eye surgery. We watched television in a room incongruously filled with beautiful morning light. Without understanding what we were seeing, I tried to explain it.

Hours on, the mother asked, “Es muy lejos?” and I realized I had been remiss in not clarifying that we were safe, and yes, it was far away, and that she must have been more scared than I, seeing the devastation, being in a stranger’s house far from home with only a bad Spanish translation.

Then my father — a WWII vet — called me, his voice shaking.