Since this blog is not just about being a mommy, but also about living in this city, my city, New York City, I thought it appropriate to write my memories of this day here.
Eight years ago today I was 22 years old, new to the city, new to my job, and honestly a little bewildered by the whole “being an adult” thing. I went in to work that day like any other day. I remember exactly what I was wearing – a pink sleeveless top, black pants, and black Steve Madden “slinky” slides (remember those?).
I got off the elevator to hear people sort of yelling from the other side of the office. One of the other assistants ran by me and told me to follow her, that there had been an accident or something. I went, with the other, like, five people who were in that early, to the big office in the south west corner.
What I saw seemed curious more than anything else. One of the Twin Towers had a little circle of fire on it, burning bigger and bigger. Smoke poured out. The other assistant told me it was a plane that had run into the tower. We thought it must have been little because the hole didn’t seem all that big. But we didn’t realize that we were looking at the spot where the nose of the place came through the north side of the building.
More people came in, a television was tuned to the news, I called my husband (then boyfriend) who was at home being a laid-off dot-commer at the time. I don’t remember if I was looking out the window or at the TV when the second plane hit, but this memory is very, very vivid. I remember what I thought and what I felt like at that moment. Up until that moment I was convinced this was an accident. A horrible tragedy, but an accident. At that moment I realized that it was no accident and that something truly awful was happening.
It was such a long day. Not long after the second plane hit my building was evacuated. I went with the two other assistants from my department to a loft one of their colleges had in the city. It was close and seemed safe to us. I was able to call my mother and my husband before I left the building to tell them I was safe and would be home when I could get there.
We ended up at a bar, drinking beer and eating burgers. We watched the news and talked with people who had hiked up from downtown to safer areas. We heard stories from people covered in dust about how they had escaped and what they had seen.
When the subways started running again, I took it home.
9-11 is such a strange day in my memory. It forever changed the way I felt and the way I looked at things. I made my first real friend in the city and we are still amazing friends today even though we have both gotten married, both had children and she has now moved away.
I felt more terrified that day than I have ever been in my life. That feeling of uncertainty is something I will never forget. That day Manhattan seemed like such a small place in so many ways. Although it was miles away, Ground Zero felt so very close to me as did the evil that was happening there. I didn’t know when the next attack would be or where. But it also felt like we were all one big family in a way. For weeks, we all had something in common. People talked to each other in restaurants and bars and on the subway. It felt close and familiar. It felt good to lean on everyone around me.
I forget about the atmosphere of the city in those days and weeks sometimes; the fall air, the smell of acrid smoke that seemed to permeate everything, the posters of missing loved ones on every available surface, the fear, the camaraderie.
I had no idea then of the real implications that the event would have not just on me, not just on the city, but on the entire world. I want to remember all of those who lost their lives on 09-11-01 and all of those whose lives were forever changed.