Sunday, September 12, 2010

That Day.

Was hard. It was a shock to our systems. A shock to our sheltered, forsaken little worlds. I woke up that morning, sick as a dog. I had been up most of the night before, so I called out of work, wandered downstairs and flipped on the TV while I made my coffee. What I saw though, I didn't move. I stood there in shock. See, as soon as I flipped on the TV, I saw the first tower on fire. They were talking about the plane and talking to someone on the phone or radio about the impact. Then, the second plane hit. I was frozen. Listening to the newscasters go silent. Some of them were uttering their own exclamations, some just watching, processing. We all knew. In that moment, it was clear what was happening. It was the abrupt end to an age of innocence. 

A few minutes later, my phone rang. It took it a few rings for me to even realize it was going off. The buzz in my head overshadowing the ring. When I came around, and answered, it was my mother on the other end. She was at work, and wanted to know what was happening. She had heard that the first tower had been hit and then shortly after, the school was locked down. The teachers told to remain in their classrooms until further notice. I could hardly speak. I told her in a short, broken sentence that we were under attack. All of us. That the second tower was hit and the reporters were saying something about the pentagon being hit. She uttered a quiet "oh my God" and hung up.

I was eventually able to make it back to the living room, empty coffee cup in hand, to sit down on the couch. I remember hearing the reporters talk but not hearing a word they were saying. I remember watching the people running from downtown New York but not seeing their faces. I was in shock. And then, the first tower fell.

I started crying and screaming. A primal scream of disbelief. Unusual for me. I just couldn't believe what was happening. I knew in my gut, there wasn't enough time. There wasn't time and those people.. those people couldn't have gotten out. It felt like some sort of sordid dream and I though the screaming might wake me up. I kept thinking, hoping that I would wake up in a sweat but I didn't. Soon, the second tower fell and I turned the television off. I couldn't watch. I couldn't stand to think about it so I pushed it to the back of my mind and tried again to make my coffee. 

When my nerves had settled a bit, I sat back down and turned on the television again. I was met with pictures of people running, stumbling, wandering through downtown. Covered in soot with tears and blood rolling and leaving dark stains where it ran down their faces. The newscasters had all sorts of theories. They were interviewing people on the street and I remember wondering why they didn't just help out. Why they didn't put down the camera and help carry that woman. There were pictures of people crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, trying to escape the insanity of the city. Then of course was the circling footage of the plane's impact and the towers falling. Over and over. 

I sat there in front of the television for hours. My mother came home at some point and joined me. Once, I looked away and realized my sister was there with us but I don't know when she came in. Suddenly, my cold didn't seem to bother me anymore. I needed out of the house. I needed to get out and go somewhere else. Somewhere where I could be numb. So, I headed to the restaurant where I worked. There was not much going on in there at the moment but there were signs everywhere at the bar that there had been a lot of people in there that morning. I was greeted by an exhausted looking Tommy who wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tightly. We weren't even dating at the time but he was there and I was so glad to see him. We didn't talk about the attacks other than the fact that they had been slammed crazy for a few hours and he was exhausted. 

That day, September 11th, changed me. It changed all of us. I would say it changed us for the better. We no longer believed we were invincible. We looked at each other with a little more grace, more kindness. We all suffered that day. We all lost a little and a weird part of all of us died in a sense. I spent yesterday going to a couple of birthday parties and hanging out with my friends. Had a great time but in the back of my mind, I was sad. I was mourning. For the people that lost their lives, for the people that took their lives and for the people that lost someone they weren't ready to live without. I don't think I will understand why and I don't pretend to. It won't make a difference if I do or don't. I do know though, that I will always remember. Remember that we are free but we are not indestructible. Remember the lives lost but also the lives reborn that day. Even nine years later we are still seeing the effects and I think we will for many years to come. Its what we do with the knowledge that we gained that will make us stronger. It already has but we have a long way to go.

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