I was running late for work that day. The weather was beautiful. The skies were a clear deep blue, virtually cloudless. The air was warm with a hint of impending autumn. It was an almost perfect day. My normal commute usually got me to the World Trade Center at around 8:45 but I missed the 8:00 train to Hoboken. Almost missed the 8:20. I ran for the train, got in, sat down and started reading a book, ignoring the world around me.
Around 8:50 as we arrived in Hoboken, there was a stir on the train. Something about a fire in the World Trade Center. I closed my book and looked toward the city, but the towers had already disappeared behind the train station building. As I left the train, an announcement came over the PA in the station: The PATH trains into the World Trade Center were not running. There were no other details.
The thought going through my head was, "Damn, now I'm going to be really late."
Luckily, the PATH train to 33rd Street was still running. So I boarded with the idea that I would go up to Christopher St. and take a downtown subway to work. On the train someone mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I ( Read more... )
I wrote this to remember what happened that day without the hype, the drama, and the politics. I wrote it for me, so I didn't have to carry the memories around in my head. Not that I can ever forget, nor do I want to, but I made the decision during the year afterwards to get all my memories down, while they were stll crystal clear.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I wasn't running late. I'm pretty sure I would have been walking out of the World Trade Center at the very same time the first plane hit. I think about how lucky I was. I'm no hero, All I did was witness what happened and feel lost. I never got closer than 3/4 of a mile to the World Trade Center.
I also think about all the people who died. My wish for the world is that we learn to make peace and we learn to live together. The world is a very small place and there's no room for hate. We need to learn from the tragedy of September 11th or we are doomed. Say "I love you" to someone special every day. You may never get a second chance.
SIXTEEN YEARS LATER:
(I removed the rest of the epilogue. It was getting really long. If you want to read it. It's on the previous years' posts. I'm writing this epilogue in Charlotte NC. I've been evacuated out of my new apartment because of the huge Hurricane Irma which hit Tampa yesterday and had the potential to wipe out everything. It moved inland and the worst of the storm missed the Tampa area. Other folks weren't so lucky. The news is just starting to come in and it's looking like some areas were completely devastated. I'm finding it hard to concentrate and I may update more later.)
More changes, more travel, more dancing.
In the past year, I've moved out of Oldsmar to a really nice apartment in the Westchase area of Tampa (about three miles away from where I lived.) I've been promoted to a new position on a new team at my job, I am now a Process Designer. I visited the September 11th Museum in New York. It was hard. I thought it was well done and appropriate. Sometimes I miss working in New York. My relationship has moved into its second year and things keep getting better and better. I am very, very lucky to have met someone who understands me so well.