(Written throughout the week of and on September 11, 2009)
I was supposed to be on the 78th floor of World Trade Center Tower 2 that morning. Instead, I was safe at home in my living room. People I would've been working with, my boss (the wonderful man who hired me), gone. People I didn't have a chance to get to know and wish I did.
I called out of my job that morning because I didn't have faith in myself & my abilities and therefore no courage to continue working in Manhattan - no, the job itself wasn't what I wanted to do, but I'd always dreamed of working in NYC, because it was a Beautiful Autumn morning and I just didn't have it in me to go into work. I'd been up for awhile but only turned on the tv just before the 2nd plane hit. They were only reporting Tower 1 was on fire at that point. They didn't know. A few moments later, I watched a plane swoop around the Towers and fly strait into Tower 2. My Tower. My floor. The tv screen went to snow. (I didn't have cable then).
My ex was running around the apartment yelling that he knew it was a terrorist attack. I couldn't speak. I could barely breath. My right hand was clamped over my mouth, my eyes open as wide as I've ever felt them. My left hand was still holding my mug of tea which was now all over the floor & couch. I kept repeating "Oh my God oh my God oh my God" over & over in my mind. I don't remember getting off the couch. I was standing directly in front of the tv.
My ex stood in front of me and said, "You were supposed to be there!" and went about trying to find another channel on the tv.
I backed up to the wall in the hall, my eyes not leaving the tv. Channel 2 was the only channel still able to broadcast on regular tv. (It was the only channel I would have for months). Both Towers had black smoke billowing from them. I slid down to the floor in shock.
Eventually, just before Tower 2 fell, I was able to go find my journal and get back onto the couch. People jumping, falling. When Tower 2 fell, I screamed and was again standing in front of the tv. My soul fell with it. Now the tears came. Gut wrenching sobs. "My GOD, what was happening?!" I screamed.
More people jumping & falling. The Pentagon, attacked. Tower 1 fell. A plane crashed in a field in PA. So many rumors and so much chaos. I wrote it all down in that journal. (Which I no longer have thanks to my ex). I taped my World Trade Center ID in there.
My mother called to literally curse me out (for having wanted to work in Manhattan) and to tell me what a foolish asshole I would be to go back there. Then she started in on how she was in danger too because she worked 2 towns over from Earle Naval Weapons (inland) Station. I hung up on her.
My best friend Kathy called and when I answered, she said, "Oh thank God!" and we cried.
My other best friend Gill worked on Avenue of the America's at that time and I was in a panic because I couldn't reach her. (She was alright, we touched base the next day).
I didn't sleep that whole first night. I couldn't stop watching the coverage, praying survivors would be found. I walked around in a stunned daze for the next couple of weeks. I was glued to the tv or a radio at all times.
I was some place the day after and a woman was on her cell phone, bitching on & on about how unhappy she was with how one of her newly refinished & covered dining chairs had come out. Finally I lost it and yelled at her to take it outside because if that was all she was worried about with what had happened the day before, she'd be lucky I didn't shove her phone up her ass and give her something more important to bitch about. She made me sick. I cannot imagine who she was talking to.
It took me 3 years to begin to wonder less why I was alive & any one of those people wasn't and become truly thankful for being given another chance to make a good life & be a better person to myself as well as to others. (I couldn't for the life of me imagine how I/my life was, worth more in a sense than most who had died - I had no spouse, my daughter had passed 2 years earlier & so I had no dependants, I'd backed out of a high power stock broker job using the excuse that it wasn't what I wanted to do (it wasn't) but in truth I was a coward & had no faith in myself and I hadn't been the best person to myself and others & done some terrible things). The 'why me' & 'survivors guilt' was overwhelming for a very long time.
Since 2004, I have been on a long and sometimes horrendous journey towards healing, emotionally & physically, not just from September 11th, but my life in general. I thank God every day for Victor. Even though I wanted to go at life on my own & was fully prepared emotionally to do so, I wouldn't have made it by myself because of my health and without him, I wouldn't be here typing this now. And though I was getting better slowly physically, emotionally it was taking so much longer. And then my best friend Gill told me about GoodReads. Then I found Chicks on Lit. Then Holli friended me & our bonding pushed my healing forward. Then I found all of you & more Chicks. I now thank God every day for my blogging friends and Chicks!
This morning when I got up, I lit candles on the mantle. Tall red, white & blue prayer candles. Short white candles. The votive I used that week 8 years ago for the candle light vigil around the world. A small wreath decoration from a large wreath saved from a dumpster near Ground Zero.
I went once and stood on the viewing platform next to the Church, its' graveyard down to my right. I felt something on my right arm and waved my left hand over it without looking. I felt what I thought was a strand of my hair blowing across my right forearm and grabbed with my left hand to get it off me. I looked down and realized my hair was braided strait down my back. I groped around for lose strands and didn't have any. That's when I realized it felt like fingers running very lightly & softly up & down my arm from my wrist to my elbow. I whispered, "I'm so sorry" and left. Seeing all of the missing posters and candles had been hard. That was too much.
Never forget 9/11/01. I won't. For their sakes, so they'll know I'm doing something w/the chance I was given.