I was on my way to work listening to Howard Stern when I heard the report that an airplane hit one of the towers. Everyone thought it was an accident. Andre was on his way to work in NY and used to transfer from the World Trade Center to the NY train system, but he decided to take a different route that day, thank goodness.
By the time I got to work everyone was in the conference room watching the news. That’s when we saw the next plane hit. Everyone was in shock and not even sure what was going on. I remember going to the kitchen and seeing my co-worker who was in between feelings since it was her birthday. I gave her a hug & we sat with such mixed emotions. We all knew something wasn’t right.
Andre was trying to get a hold of what was happening, as we all were, with no answers, just mass confusion & uncertainty. Tunnels and trains were being shut down and those that wanted to get in or out of NY couldn’t go anywhere. For the rest of the day it was back and forth on the phone, hoping the battery wouldn’t die and trying to find a way to make it back home.
Finally, he heard the only available route was a ferry from NY to the Meadowlands in NJ. He left work and made his way, while I left work, jumped in the car to make my way there to meet him at the dock. And, I was close, but I was so far away, stuck on the highway.
He arrived, but I was nowhere near him in bumper to bumper traffic going E towards the city on Route 3 in NJ, one exit away from him, so close yet, so far. The road ahead of me was closed & everyone was being rerouted back. I wasn’t gonna be able to meet him there. I was worried the entire time. We were stuck on both ends not sure what to do. People who were parked at the ferry area were helping other people by giving rides out of the area so he got in with someone and started heading opposite me going West on Route 3, which was clear of traffic. He was going pretty fast in a strangers car while I was sitting in a mass of traffic. Of all the cars on the highway and speed he was going, we still don’t know how, but he saw where I was sitting in traffic. He asked the driver to leave him on the side of the highway, but by the time he pulled over to stop, he was so far away from me.
Since traffic was barely moving, we figured he could just walk back up to where I was, so he walked and walked… in what seemed forever in his new shoes (funny his favorite song is “Walking In My Shoes” By Depeche Mode), slowly getting closer and closer. On the phone he was telling me his feet were hurting. When he got to the car we hugged each other so tightly, feeling that huge sense of relief to have your love in your arms, and knowing not everyone had that opportunity. He took off his shoes and socks and the back of his ankles were completely peeled off and bloody from the new shoes. He literally broke them in. We sat there for a couple more hours and 4 hrs later we finally made it home, only to be forced to watch it play over and over on the news. We lived in a high rise condo in Newark with an entire view of the NYC skyline, so we could see the burning smoke for days.
Things were never the same… after that came all the stories, the questions, no answers, suspicions, pain, misunderstanding, lies, more questions… memories of loved ones. It never went away.
9/11/2011 – I still feel a bit hurt, still not sure exactly what really happened. We still ask why. We never stopped asking questions or looking for answers. We still remember the loved ones we lost & those who helped others keep theirs… and the way the whole world came together, the outpouring… all the love for the United States. We all joined forces, everyone, all around the world… it was like a dream come true, and I wish this could be the natural, everyday way of life, not just in death or tragedy.
So, as we do at with times like these, we connect with our families and friends and share your stories. I recall my first and last time at the top of the World Trade Center with Andre on one of our first dates. We saved the entrance ticket and when I found it, I saw the date was 9.10.94. It was so beautiful, the longest elevator ride I had ever been on, we saw the entire city all around us and enjoyed the deep, red sunset together. We’ll never forget.
Days like this I miss all my friends and family in NY & NJ even more!
9/11/2012 – I woke up feeling OK until they had a moment of silence on the radio, followed by Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”. I cried, so easily taken back, but, I know I couldn’t sit at home in my emotions so I let it out, shook it off and set out to begin another day in this beautiful, fragile life, while trying to be appreciative of all & everyone.
9/11/2013 – I got up for work as normal, they played Alicia Keys again but I didn’t have much of an emotional response. I almost did but I think I avoided it. I don’t know if I’m just conditioned now, numb to it all, over it, still looking for answers… but just wanting peace. And now Des’ree is playing…
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, LOVE WILL SAVE THE DAY. I still believe that!
9/11/2014 – Here we are again… I’m feeling a bit more overwhelmed than normal. I find that I can either block an emotion entirely, or if I decide to let myself feel it, I feel it overwhelmingly. It’s like I get transported back, but not only to the memories but the feelings are as strong and in tact. I still have faith, but slowly losing my faith in humanity. I know balance is key, but it’s not easy… recounting, remembering… reliving. It sucks… so I wrote this poem to try to process some of it. Meanwhile, still waiting for change.
The Full Moon was on Monday
But, I’m feeling it more today
So many thoughts & emotions in the way
So much going on in the world
So much confusion, hurt and pain
Too many distractions & shenanigans
Something’s gotta give
Something’s gotta break
We need to heal the world
Make it a better place
We’re not learning from our mistakes
9/11 still feels like yesterday
And where are we today?
More wars, greed & politics tick tick
We know love is the answer
But, there’s more violence & hate
We’re finding more truth
Yet, it seems like nothing’s changed
Where’s that restart button?
No time to reincarnate
We need to clean up the bullshit
Start a new chapter, a new phase
On the same spiritual plane