Every kid has a moment in their childhood when they realise just how terrifying the world can be. A moment when they realise there are far scarier things out there than Big Foot and boogeymen and monsters hiding under beds.
For my parents’ generation, it was the Cold War. For my younger cousins, it was the Lockerbie bombing. For my friend Shannon, it was the unconscionable existence of Mr Blobby.
For me, it was when a girl from my hometown died in the North Tower murders.
Janie Kirsopp was a quietly intelligent violinist in her first year at Carvell Academy of the Arts. Her parents had driven her the hundreds of miles from Sevenoaks to rural Northumberland, said tearful goodbyes to their shy, uncertain daughter, and promised they’d have the best Christmas ever to make up for their time apart.
Janie had begged them to take her home, said she’d made a mistake and that she didn’t want to be so far away from them, that she’d request a transfer to one of the elite music programmes in London instead. They had kissed her on the forehead and told her to stick it out for a couple of months and see how she felt then.
But before Christmas came, Janie was dead.