Everyone says that 9/11 began just like any other day. To some extent, it did start out just like any other day for me, except for seeing a dead cat on the side of the road on the way to school. (Not easy for a cat lover; my mom later took it’s body and buried it in the woods). Looking back now, it feels so fresh in my memory, but at the same time it’s not. There were a few moments of that day that truly haunted me, with good reason, and still do to this day. I was 14 years old, and just beginning 8th grade. School had begun the previous week, and all seemed normal. Now, for a 14 year old girl, I was naive. I didn’t think that anyone would be at war with us. I didn’t know what a terrorist was. I was clueless and in my own little world. Although there were moments in 2001 where I would feel that a drastic change would occur, I didn’t know exactly when, what or how…but hey when you’re a teenager, a lot of changes occur, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. That previous friday, we had a homework assignment in History to find a big current event/outstanding news in the newspaper to discuss; something interesting. Back then, the internet wasn’t used for EVERYTHING, so the newspaper was the first resource to go to for most people. Come Sunday the 9th, I remember sitting at my dining room table and thinking, I can’t really find anything too interesting in the news. I should find something I thought…there didn’t seem to be anything chaotic going on in our country at the time, or at least nothing publicized. I mean this is America, where the news tries to scare you and over dramatize whatever story the media comes across, and still I didn’t find anything. I’m not over exaggerating, I thought it was weird at the time. It seemed a little eerie. I don’t remember what I chose.
Monday, september 10th, as little and stupid as it sounds, I remember receiving a handout in English class, saying our presentation was due the following day. It said due date: September 11, 2001. I remember just staring at the date for a good minute. Perhaps I was thinking, wow times flying, but that wasn’t the only thing. I was somewhat in a daze, which is easy to go into when you’re in class, but I just looked at the 11. I’m not over analyzing it, but at the time I just had a little weird inkling. I shrugged it off. That afternoon I remember going into town after school with my best friend, we grabbed some pizza, called our parents from a pay phone, and heard an ambulance go by while we were on the school bus. Being weirdo 14 year olds, we both were jokingly shouting oooh nooo ammmbulaaance…I don’t know why…we were just hyperactive and random. By the time I got home, I did my homework, didn’t focus too much on the presentation I had to do the following morning, and I went to bed.
I woke up at 7 am, got ready, and my mother got ready. She usually dropped me off at school before going to work. She had landed a great job at a trade company, and was bringing in a better income than we had had in years. Now, like I said, I was 14 and my interests were on boys, friends, and that morning, getting permission to get my hair dyed. The sun was still rising, and on the way to school, I was begging my mom to let me get my hair done. I always wanted to be blonde, and my moms a natural blonde, but I was born with DARK brown hair. Both my parents were against it but I didn’t care, I wanted it! We pulled into the parking lot of my junior high, and she parked the car facing the field. I started to turn on the waterworks, begging for her to let me get my hair colored. I started to cry over it so I could get my way. We looked out onto the field, and the sky was vivid. It was somewhat pink and powerful, but scary. My mom ended the conversation by saying, I’ll think about it. Yes the petty tears were probably forced, but at 7:30 am on September 11th, that’s what mattered to me the most. I got out of the car, and headed to the front doors, and went to homeroom.
Tuesday was a half day, and it’s crazy I remember my schedule for that day. After homeroom it was English, Science, Math, History, Spanish, Lunch, then Health. These classes were roughly 45 minutes each. English began at around 8:15, and ended at 9:01. I headed to English, and didn’t have a single care in the world. I was sort of excited that my mom was considering letting my get my hair done, but other than that, I just went on with my day with a light hearted attitude. The beginning of English wasn’t anything too exciting, we were just watching the classes present stuff…I don’t remember what. Me and my partner Jasmine weren’t too prepared, so we had to go out into the hallway at around 8:40 to practice and do some touch ups on our poster. Around that time, I went from being noticeably bubbly to spaced out. We did our presentation at around 8:45, and I hardly spoke, since I was spaced out. I didn’t know why, it’s not that I had a problem giving a two minute presentation on god knows what. My partner did most of the talking, and I just felt a little preoccupied on nothing. Oh well. We sat down for the next people to present. We had about 15 minutes left to the class. A few minutes before the bell was going to ring, I went from being bored, somewhat listless, not anxious and in my own world…to sudden panic. I was just sitting at my desk, and it’s as if a silent alarm went off in my head. Butterflies and a knot was forming in my stomach. I had the most horrible gut feeling I never had before. That intuitive feeling that comes out of no where. My blood pressure was getting higher, my eyes opened wider, it’s as if an S.O.S. was going on in my head. It was so frightening, and came out of no where. These were along the lines of my thoughts, “Oh my God, something is wrong, something is really wrong, and it’s unfolding or is about to unfold. Is something wrong with my family? No that’s not it…is something going to happen to me? I don’t know…I don’t think so…but something is going to change everything, something bigger than me and I can’t stop it, it’s like a domino affect, it’s going to get exponentially bigger, what the hell is this? I don’t know what, where, how, but right now is when, and it’s big, too big I can’t conceive of whatever it is that’s wrong.” I had no idea what it could be, but I had these intense feelings. My body froze up, and soon the bell sounded at 9:01 AM. Everyone rushed to get up and go to the next class. I slowly rose from my seat. I didn’t know what to expect, but my intuition was saying, “Don’t you dare ignore me”. Everything felt like slow motion, I left the room so nervous and scared. I had to go from one end of the hallway to the other. As I did, it’s as if the sounds of the loud students talking, the lockers banging, and the shuffling of books and backpacks were muted. I remember holding my books close to me and looking at the faces of my peers and thinking, “none of them know”. I didn’t know where that thought came from, because I certainly didn’t know what this feeling was. I just believed it, as if some other voice was telling me out of no where that nothing would ever be the same. It’s so fresh in my mind, and over time I have not over exaggerated what I was thinking. Like I said, I didn’t know where, who, or what, but it was bigger than me, and I was scared to death. I was thinking about calling my mom from the office phone, but my intuition said it wasn’t about her. Then why would I be upset if nothing’s wrong with me or my family? I thought, and this feeling lingered for the next two hours, but I did have to shrug it off. Science class flew by, and then math…but by the end of math class one of the staff came up to my math teacher saying, your husbands on the phone. Hardly anyone had cell phones back then, and if someone had to take a phone call during school hours it was usually serious. Me and my friends just assumed her husband was calling for an anniversary or something. It was about 10:30 am. Me and some friends proceeded to walk down the stairwell to our next class: history. As we reached the floor, it seemed VERY quiet. We all sat down in our seats, and usually our teacher got class started right away, and I saw him outside in the hallway talking to another teacher for a while. He was holding a piece of paper. That piece of paper could be anything, but that feeling arose again, and I even muttered, this is it this is it, whatever is on that piece of paper, that’s it. It could have been about an after school announcement…but I didn’t keep my eyes off of my teacher as he stood out in the hallway. I didn’t hear anything he was saying, I just saw him, holding that piece of paper. He wasn’t showing emotion, he was just literally talking to the other teacher. Then he came into the loud classroom, as I anticipated what he was going to say. He calmly started off saying, “okay” while looking at the piece of paper. No emotion. Then he leaned on his desk, and announced what most of the country already knew, but we didn’t. There was my answer. I didn’t know how serious it was until much later. I didn’t know what the WTC was. I mean I knew the world trade center but I didn’t know those huge towers were the WTC. My teacher read the announcement so fast, I figured some jerk flew a little plane into a building. As the day continued…I was proven wrong. I was so distracted by all the news (we had one tv in the library), and people talking and parents showing up to get their kids early, that I didn’t put two and two together about my feeling I never had before (even though it was weighing on my mind the whole morning)…and it made sense.
Now, like I said I have no exaggerated anything. If people don’t choose to believe me, I don’t care. I do know what happened to me and it still freaks me out. I have intuitive feelings over little things, but I never had a feeling like that ever again.
I live in the metrowest Boston area, and I knew of some who died that day. A lot of people lived near my town who were on Flight 11. Also our neighbors across the street lost their brother who worked at the WTC–he was never found. We had met him only a year prior at a block party. He was only 30 and was supposed to be getting married. He worked on the 82nd floor of the north tower, where the plane initially impacted.
When I went home, my mom was still not home. All of the television stations except for the childrens stations, were showing news footage, and messages from people online. Chatrooms online: that’s all they were talking about. I remember towards the end of august, and beginning of september, I was playing with a video camera, and taking footage, and I went into a room and made a statement and recorded some of the news. It was too much.
As years go by, it hits harder. We all know a lot more, as it’s burnt into our memories. Last february I visited the grounds, and it was painful. It was heavy. I didn’t expect such a negative feeling when I went there. It felt VERY real when I went to the memorial.
I left out a lot of my story and wrote it sloppily, but to this day, it still haunts me. One of my favorite singers died: donna summer, and she was exposed to the dirty air of that day, and most likely died of lung cancer because of it. There are still victims being added to the list, which makes me sick. At least we got bin laden, but this country will never be the same. Soon after 911 my mom was laid off, and because of this depression, I have never seen so many abandoned places in my life. So, my sense I had that morning was correct. That’s what scares me to this day, was how precisely correct it was.
RIP to all victims. My prayers will always be with them and their friends and family. <3