I wake up. It is a normal day. I shower, dress, go to my car and turn the key in the ignition. 6:40. I press the button that turns the radio on. Those two deejays I hate, Jamie and Danny, are babbling. Not making sense. Are they joking?
“The airports have been shut down. I repeat, all air travel has been shut down. We’re grounded.”
I drive to work. There is a normal amount of traffic on the road at 6:45 a.m. They are saying something about airplanes hitting the twin towers — and then an airplane has hit the Pentagon. No one knows anything.
I drive into the garage, descend to the lobby. People are leaving the building in a steady trickle. I press the elevator button, ascend to my workplace, and step out.
I open the door. It is around 7:00. The television is on in the conference room, straight ahead of me. I step through the door as the first tower crumbles on-screen. I stop, then walk forward, sink into a leather chair and watch. A cloud of dust rises slowly. We are all staring. That did not just happen.
After a few minutes, I move. I grab a bottle of water from the fridge and a Luna bar from my personal snack drawer. I carry these items and my purse around the office, as if I might need to flee at any moment. I pull out my cell phone and dial my parents’ number. My sister answers.
She is crying. She is okay. She is watching CNN.
We post a message stating that we will not update the site today. We debate whether to stay or leave. The second tower goes down as we stare at the TV screen. All I can think is, it looks like a flower. Then: my God. A little message flashes across the screen: another hijacked plane, perhaps headed for Los Angeles. No, Washington. No, Pennsylvania.
We decide to leave. I drive to my friend’s apartment, stay on the couch watching CNN. My dad calls, and we talk, and then he hangs up and I cannot stop watching, even when I look away.