I had gone out to walk my dog. It was only about 6:30am my time. When I got back my phone was ringing and it was my ex-husband of all people. “Can you believe this?” he said. I had no idea. I turned the TV on and saw the horror. My heart sank.
I knew my uncle, an architect, was finishing a building right next to the towers and his office was in the towers. I saw the second one fall and felt like it was all over. I couldn’t breathe. I called my parents, sister, anyone just to reach out and be close to my family. I went to work but mostly just moved through the day in a numbed state. I kept calling but the lines were down. I watched all day. Waiting helplessly for the phone to ring.
I had AOL instant messenger up – talking to friends and others. Then, I saw it. My uncle’s screen name popped up. It was him and he was alive. We chatted for a second but he couldn’t even focus. I was just glad to know he was alive.
He was at the dentist that morning. Thank god. He’s a New Yorker through and through. The city is his life, his world, like a member of his family. He did his college internship at the towers as they were being built. The building he was finishing was next to #7 and was destroyed. They were only a few weeks from getting the Certificate of Occupancy. His world was turned upside down. The last 4 years of his life, his work was gone.
He suffered depression for years after. He laughs now when he tells the story of coming out of the dentist office that morning and hearing someone yelling as he ran past “they blew up the Empire State Building!” He says he looked up at the Empire State building (still standing) shaking his head “idiot.” Little did he know at the time.
I lost another friend from High School in the towers, and one at the Pentagon.
I got together with friends that night, we had dinner and sat outside in the cool night air. We looked into the sky and said “there are no planes anywhere in the sky over the US right now.” To think it was the first time since the beginning of flight…
It ripped a whole in my heart. Eight years later, it’s still there.