Like A Trip Back To Middle School

Friday, September 11, 2009

flashback friday: most days i can't put to rest the burning city smoking in my mind

written 09.11.01 - titled "Lightning Crashes"

The angel opens her eyes. Pale blue colored iris reflects the surface, puts the glory up so high, high... oh now feel it coming back again like a roll of thunder chasing the wind, forces pulling from the center of the earth again, I can feel it... ~ LIVE ~

The first time I heard that song was in April of 1995. There had just been a horrible bombing in Oklahoma City and all of the local radio stations were running a version of LIVE's 'Lightning Crashes' with sound clips spliced into it. It was horrible and beautiful at the same time.

I fell in love with the song and immediately tried to tape it off of the radio - the "Oklahoma City Remix" is the version I ended up with. I still have it on tape and although I have not heard it recently, I found the unlabeled cassette in my room not too long ago and put it in to see what it was... and just started sobbing.

When I woke up this morning, my nose was running and I ran to the windowsill to get a tissue. It was 7:55 AM. I got back into bed, relieved that I had an hour and a half to go until my alarm was to go off, and thinking about all of the reading I'd have to do later in the afternoon... but thinking that I'd worry about it later.

Anna's alarm went off right before 8:30 and I was half awake through all of her getting dressed... but I really woke up when Raina came into the room. She told us that her parents had called to tell her about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center... Anna and I were both like, "Wow... that's really something..." and didn't think much more about it. In fact, I went back to bed.

But then my dad called me from his business trip in Florida. And then my mom called me immediately after. And I still didn't think anything of it. It was a plane crash and it was horrible but it wasn't "too close for comfort" for me... after all, the WTC was way downtown and I'm nearing midtown, where I'm dorming.

But then I started thinking about Lauren. And Mary. Both of whom dorm within a five minute walk from the WTC. Mary was probably on her way to campus, but Lauren student teaches even closer to the world trade center than where her dorm is. So I got nervous and started making phone calls to cell phones in hopes of reaching them. No luck. And then I really started panicking. And when Raina came back and said 'OH MY GOD, A SECOND PLANE JUST HIT", minutes after Anna left for class, I officially went into panic mode. Because I realized that it wasn't an "accident" anymore.

Raina and I watched in horror as the crash into the Pentagon was announced on the news... and the fire in the Washington Mall... we watched Tower 1 collapse... and Tower 2... and then Janeen came home from class, crying hysterically. (I had abandoned all thoughts of going to my own classes at this point, assuming that the teachers would have to understand.)

The minute I realized that the phones weren't working, I immediately went to my computer and started e-mailing everyone I knew. Family, friends from school, friends from home, friends who I hadn't talked to in years. I wanted everyone to know I was okay. Thank God for the internet... I reached so many people, who got in touch with other people who spread the word... Canadian Crush, who is in Dublin this semester, sent out an e-mail begging us all to e-mail him confirming we were all alright... thank you to everyone who IMed me today to make sure that I was ok. Ray, LeeAndra and Amber, you were the first three people out of everyone that I spoke to... thank you so much for keeping me and my friends in your thoughts and prayers throughout the day.

Anna returned shortly after with a group of friends from class who couldn't get back to their dorms because of the subway closure and the downtown NYC evacuation and our room became a sort of temporary safe haven... we made a bunch of food and we all took turns attempting phone calls, sending e-mails, and watching the TV. Mary showed up at my dorm safe and sound to join us and Lauren IMed me from her brother's screenname to tell me that she was okay and with him. And when she told me they were going to attempt to go home, after much debate, I went with them.

So I'm home now, back on LI, and in complete disbelief that this happened... and that it happened here. Because I never thought that I'd live to see something like this... never thought that it would happen in my lifetime. New York City was attacked today, while I was living there. Hundreds (realistically speaking, probably thousands) of people were killed today in my city alone... to think of all of the people in NYC... and all of the people I know... all of my loved ones are accounted for and safe... but so many people I know are just waiting... waiting to hear if *their* loved ones are okay... I read somewhere "the waiting is the hardest part"... and it is... I learned that today while I was nearly in hysterics waiting to hear if Lauren and Mary were okay... going through that is hard enough... going through that and finding out that your loved one has lost their life... over a horrible, horrible attack...

God I don't even know how to express what I'm feeling. Relief - because I know that I am safe at home with my family, as are Lauren, Janeen, and Mary, and that Anna and Chad and Raina are together and have each other right now and that Alex's uncle, who works in the WTC is home safe... Fear - because I know that this is far from over, and because I know that my dad is in Florida right now and not here with me and all I want to do is hug him right now, and because I don't want to return to the city for classes on Thursday, and because even though my friends are together, they're not with me, and I miss Susan... Love - because I have the greatest group of friends anyone can ask for and I can't even begin to count the number of e-mails, IMs and phone calls I got today from friends that I haven't heard from in days, weeks, or months just making sure I was okay... Pride - Because despite all of my longing to be in Canada right now (and who am I kidding, always...), I am proud to be an American... and we will get through this, no matter what may happen... when I saw Bush on TV tonight, I wasn't looking at him and thinking "Uggh"... I was thinking "That's our president. He's going to get us through this." And I really felt comfort.

God... I don't even know what else to say... except that to anyone who may see this who was even the slightest bit affected by today... which will probably be EVERYONE who reads this... you are in my prayers. All of you.



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