Thursday, September 11, 2008
A lifetime ago...
"Someone just crashed a plane into the Twin Towers!"
"Oh, please Kate - it was probably some amateur pilot who had no idea what he/she was doing", said skeptical 24 - year old me to my somewhat loony office mate on that sunny Tuesday.
More rumblings and gossip throughout the office. I check CNN.com. The site won't load. Something is not right. People walk into the office with news from the outside world - they're saying another plane hit. I finally decide to call my boyfriend, who works in Tower 1. No answer.
Now, the Pentagon is under attack. My Midtown Manhattan office has become crazy town...people are running back and forth to the cafeteria to get the latest updates from the television. I am paralyzed, handcuffed to my desk, afraid to leave the phone. I try again. No answer. He hasn't called.
People are crying. Work has come to a halt. I have to pee, but am afraid to leave my desk. My coworker promises to pick up the line so I can take a quick run to the toilet. I want to throw up.
The buildings are falling. We were just there on Friday having a drink at the bar in the lobby, weren't we?
His parents call me from their vacation. I have no news for them. His best friend calls me from work, crying. I have no news for him. I call my mother at work, and finally lose it. People keep calling me for answers, and I have none.
People are leaving the office to get home to their families. I will not leave. Not until I have some sort of an answer.
An eternity later, the phone rings. It's him. My body completely gives out and I cry tears of joy and horrible sorrow for all that has been lost. He doesn't know the buildings fell. He jumped on a subway train right after the 2nd plane hit and was stuck riding uptown for about an hour (which felt like a lifetime). I have to give him the sad details.
A half hour later, he is at my office with me. We are trying to figure out how we will be getting home. We walk to Penn Station. Broadway is dark. Times Square is dark. I've never seen anything like this. The train ride is silent. I arrive home and fall into my mother's arms and sob.
Seven years later, Mom is retired, I work from home (after 3 more years in NYC and some jobs closer to home), and the boyfriend is now the Barron. We were engaged that December, deciding that life was too precious to wait any longer. And we are now, finally ready to welcome a baby into our lives.
I am still filled with sorrow over what happened that day. My city was forever changed, and many close to me lost so much. I never forget how fortunate I was that day and how close I came to losing a loved one as well. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who did.