This is a picture of me and Lannie, one of my best friends from college. It was 2001 and I was in New York for a job interview. I got the job, so she took the train down from Massachusetts to celebrate with me. I had two weeks to pack my bags, grab my cat, and move my life from Houston to New York.
I had been waiting for this moment my whole life.
Gosh, we were so young… so happy… so tipsy. To the stranger who took this photo, thanks!
I wanted to post this picture of us because every year on this day, I get a note from her:
Because this was where I worked:
For the record, my office did open earlier… I was just always late. You see, I had just met this great guy and saying goodbye every morning was tough. Eventually, I would leave New York for New Orleans and marry him.
So basically, it was love that kept me safe that day. But it shook me to the core. It shook the world and everyone felt it.
I remember the heavy dust that hung over the entire city for what seemed like forever. In a city that never sleeps, it was so quite and so still.
I remember walking for hours trying to get home. My apartment was on 79th, so I had about 80 blocks to go. Public transportation was paralyzed and it took a few hours to get home. It shouldn’t have taken that long. I don’t know why it did. I was running in water.
There was no cell phone service. I remember hitting redial on my phone over and over and over again desperately trying to get through to someone. Anyone. I was so glad to finally get through to my dad. I think I heard his knees fall to the floor. After we hung up, he called my mother. I didn’t know if I would get another line.
By the time I reached Time Square, both towers had fallen. I stopped to rest only to realize I was surrounded by the instant replay of falling buildings and falling bodies. News tickers swarmed around bearing terrible news.
When I finally reached my apartment, there was a note on my door. I changed my clothes, washed my face and stared at the blinking light on my answering machine. I walked out the door and headed to his apartment. I can still see his face when he opened the door.
I called my mom. She sobbed. She sobbed because she wasn’t sure she would ever hear my voice again. And then she sobbed for all the mothers who would not get a call that day.
And that’s when I realized the magnitude of what had happened.