Michael D'Esposito and his family led quiet lives. "No fairy tales," said Grace D'Esposito, his wife.
Life passed to the rhythm of daily and weekly routines. In the mornings, he would kiss his wife while she was still asleep before he left for work as a consultant at Marsh & McLennan. In the evenings, his 2-year-old daughter, Ashley, would help him take off his shoes after work. Mr. D'Esposito, 32, would tickle her and throw her on the bed while Mrs. D'Esposito cooked.
After dinner they would watch television, content in being together.
Conversation centered on Ashley and on all the improvements around the house that they never got to. Bedtime was 8:30 p.m. for Ashley. First came a glass of milk, then a story. Tuesdays were Ashley's swim class. Saturdays were music class. The weekend was the time for neighborhood walks with the stroller.
Mrs. D'Esposito does not remember her goodbye kiss that Tuesday morning. She was at Ashley's swim class when she first heard. Now the two are taking it day by day. "We're trying to get back to a normal routine, which I don't think will ever be normal again," she said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 22, 2001.