Neurotic Fishbowl: A Year Ago Today


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A Year Ago Today

A year ago today when the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred, I was still sleeping. I had a big second interview that afternoon and since I had been unemployed dotcommer for six months, I was really anxious about it. Steven was taking the day off to play golf, so he was home as well. The phone rang at like 9:00 and it was my mother. She said something about a plane and a building, but I was tired and told her to let me sleep since I had that interview in the afternoon. She called back a little later and said two planes had hit the World Trade Center. She sounded so strange; her voice was really flat. I rolled over and told Steven and he went downstairs to see what had happened. He said something like, "Oh my God," and then I distinctly remember him saying, "It looks like Manhattan is on fire." I got out of bed at that and came downstairs and sat on the couch and was horrified. I had forgotten about the time change and I remember that I thought the buildings were full of people and I was sure that like 10,000 or 15,000 people had just died. I called my friend Trish, who worked in downtown Houston across from the federal building at the time, to see if she was still at work. I didn't get her, so I called our friend Jeanna and she said that Trish had already left. I remember calling Christine, but not what we talked about. I remember checking on my interview to see if we were still going to have it (we did; it went really well, but I ended up with an interview at 4 Guys a few days later and took it instead). The thing I remember most about that time period is sitting at my computer and reading blogs and crying endlessly. Michele's been posting her old entries and I swear I remember all of them word for word. I remember the letter from Susannah's friend where he talked about watching two people jump off the WTC together. They held hands the whole way down. I remember how I wanted Steven next to me constantly; how I was scared to let him go for too long.

Steven has a friend, Mohammed, whom he grew up with in Dubai, who works near the WTC. We tried calling him and kept getting his voice mail. We worried about him for days until he called us back. He had been in Pakistan when the attacks happened. Thankfully, he and his family were fine. I wonder how many people he knew who died. I have never been able to ask him.

I started work nine days later and that night, while Steven was at poker, our lights went out. It was dead silent in our condo complex with no noise anywhere. I was lying in the floor, trying to read by candle light, when a plane flew overhead. From where I was lying I could see it approaching through the top of our French doors and it seemed so loud. It scared me and I always think of how shell-shocked I felt, though I lived no where near New York.

This whole time period always comes to me in images. The missing posters carpeting walls. The man, his tie flapping behind him, running from the building collapsing. The two black ladies holding each other and crying, one with her head upon the other's breast like a small child. The people waving signs that said things like, "Heroes!," "Thank you!," "God Bless You!" and cheering for the rescue workers as they left the site. The spontaneous memorials that cropped up all over the world. The pictures of people hanging out of the buildings. The dust that covered empty streets. The Flash tribute that played Enya's "Only Time" three or four times that made my heart hurt so much I couldn't breathe.

I remember how much I wanted to stop watching the media footage over and over again. How it was killing me to read a story of someone who was looking for someone else, who was clutching a picture and showing it to anyone and everyone, hoping against hope to find them. I wanted to quit reading the stories from bloggers in New York, but I couldn't. All I could think was that if people had to have that happen to them and their loved ones, the least I could do was listen to their stories.

I remember one of the stories was about someone that had a job interview there that morning. I can't remember if he made it out or not, but I remember that hitting me like a ton of bricks. I had an interview later that afternoon. If I'd lived in New York, maybe I would have interviewed there that morning. That brought the reality home of how it could have been any one, at any time.

I've begun watching a lot of reruns of Friends (I didn't start watching the show until about two years ago) and I am always amazed at how often the Towers are shown. Amazed at how you could see them from another state. Saddened that they are no longer there; that I will never be able to see them for real. Mournful over the loss of life on that day.

Things have changed so much and in other ways, stayed the same. I've lived within fifteen minutes of Houston's biggest airport my whole life. I've seen countless numbers of planes, but I notice every one of them. They changed the flight patterns and while going to yoga yesterday, planes flew directly overhead, very low, while I sat at a red light. It made me feel anxious. I've always been a worrier, but I have been feeling more and more anxious as September approaches. Now that it's here, some of the general anxiety has dissipated, but I still feel worried over things. I want the world to be a better place, but some times it feels so hopeless. It feels like bad things are inevitable and it's only a matter of time before we all kill each other. I try to focus on the good things like the stories of people that rescued others and died trying to help total strangers. The stories of people who were saved because a stranger helped them. How I couldn't even give blood that day because the blood banks had so many volunteers. How small children made sandwiches for the rescue workers and put little notes in them that said, "I love you." How, for a little while, it seemed that we could unite in a way that we never would have been able to. I hope and I pray that they are the true face of humanity and that tomorrow will always be a better day.

.: Posted September 11, 2002 07:13 PM in Fish Tales, ";print substr($entry_cats, 0, -2); ?> :.

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xlnt thoughts/words

*thnx for the read, will look 4ward to another visit!

.: btezra said on September 11, 2002 02:18 PM :: link it :.

We all have a story so similar, at least everybody I know does, but when I catch myself crying about this tragedy, I have such difficulty putting my tears into words. Thank you for doing so.

.: Audra said on September 11, 2002 02:49 PM :: link it :.


I posted yours over at the site where I put the emails because I didn't want to excerpt it; I wanted the whole thing right there.

.: michele said on September 11, 2002 03:56 PM :: link it :.

I don't think I said it earlier - but I love you. Thank you for everything, and I'm glad you're a part of my life. You're a good work wife. ;)

.: Christine said on September 11, 2002 10:51 PM :: link it :.

You're too early! Come back at September 11, 2002 07:13 PM to see this post.

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