is not fiction
is the first step to healing.
morning subway commute takes about twenty minutes door-to-door.
And in those twenty minutes I usually scan a section of the morning
paper, read a chapter of a book, or write out my daily to-do list.
This morning, in the time it takes to get to work, a plane crashed
into the side of the World Trade Center.
the time I emerged from the underground in Union Square, there were
hundreds of people gathered in the park and on the streets staring at a
large smoking, flaming hole in the north side of the taller tower. And by the time I got into my office and in front of a
television, a second plane had crashed into the other tower.
instead of watching the media telecast, which was useless, I stood by the
top-floor windows of our office building and watched the twin towers burn
while picking up bits and pieces of what had happened. And with all of us watching and speculating and grieving, the
second tower that was hit burst into a cloud of smoke and sparkles,
exploding all the way down the base.
the next twenty minutes or so we watched as the remaining half of the
downtown skyline billowed and blazed.
And even as thousands of people looked on, willing the building to
stay whole, it too exploded and collapsed in front of our eyes.
can't honestly say I remember too much of what happened after.
I know the office was closed and people were sent home.
Those living outside of the city found friends to stay with.
I walked fifty blocks north, amidst crowds of other homeward bound
New Yorkers, to my apartment.
only real vivid recollection of the walk home was approaching the Citicorp
building on 53rd and Lexington. I
noticed as I drew close that there were people lined up out the door and
around the block, all holding papers of some sort.
first thought was: shit, it's a bank run.
as I got right next to the line, I realized that the forms they were
filling out were health datasheets. And
that all of these people were in line to give blood.
personally have never given blood before.
I've never had a fondness for needles.
Nor for the sight of my own blood.
But as soon as I saw that line, I was determined to make my own
started as an intention but it became a crusade.
spent the next 3 hours walking up and down the East side trying to find a
blood bank or hospital that would take me.
Never having given blood before, I had no idea what my type was and
all of the places were so overwhelmed with donors that they didn't have
time to test me. So then I
spent a considerable amount of time walking from pharmacy to pharmacy
trying to find a blood-typing kit to find out for myself.
No such luck.
tomorrow, tomorrow I am going to go give blood.
back in my apartment now. And
it's strange to be so sequestered from what's happening all around
outside. Phone calls are
slow, but I've managed to get in touch with enough friends and family that
they can spread the word. I've
been on email constantly - receiving well-wishes and extending them.
trying to keep my mind occupied. I
refuse to turn on the TV. Although
I am unable to recall if anybody I know worked in those towers, I'm sure
that names will come to me. I've
lived in New York City for five years.
I've worked for three of them in a finance-related industry.
There is no question in my mind that I know people who were there.
summer was my five-year college reunion.
And in anticipation of the festivities, they sent us a bound book
with all my classmates' bios and contact information. I know if I open that book and start looking, it's going to
be a long, long night.
already been a long, long day.
am fine. I am not okay.
also read: the day after.
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