September 11, 2001. 14th Street. 6th Avenue.
My slumber woke to a world that has changed without any notification. I rubbed my eyes, cursed the senseless diversions that held my interest of the mundane. My alarm clock received its usual three punch minimum for an extra 10 minutes of sleep. This was at 8:10am. I proceeded to the bathroom, flicked the switch, with half opened eyes noticed my gut wasn’t getting any smaller. I stood in the shower not so much to clean myself, as I did, but as a self-inducing wake up call. Like every morning, I stood with my hand against my head with my arm propping me up against the wall. Yawned. I got out of the shower, brushed my teeth and combed my hair. This was 8:25am.
I walked over to my window which looks over 14th street and 6th avenue, pulled the blinds up to see the day before me. Quickly glanced up to the sky and saw nothing but blue. I turned and proceeded to get dressed for work. I put on Howard Stern and listened to his fumbling love life. I sat on my bed once more and took a deep sigh. My sigh was not because I knew what was to come in the world, my sigh came from the lack of energy I had. I remember thinking that I need to work out more. I am not a morning person. This was 8:30am.
Slowly I got dressed, with small chuckles seeping out as Howard kept me awake. I took one more glance outside, the usual 14th street traffic was building. I grabbed my wallet, my cell phone, my computer, my keys and walked out of my apartment. I waited for the elevator. I rode down the elevator by myself. I walked out of my building; still half awake and turned west to the corner of 14th and 6th. Within seconds I noticed a gathering of people standing on the Northwest Corner of 14th and 6th. I looked at my cell phone to see the time as I don’t wear a watch. It was the last time I remember what time it was. It was 8:51am.
As I approached the people, the faces I saw were of concern and awe. They were facing down 6th avenue, downtown. I turned and saw black smoke spreading and blowing through the sky. I remember seeing a huge black spot on one of the World Trade Centers. Then immediately my eyes adjusted and recognized that it wasn’t a spot. It was a hole. I remember hearing a woman uttering what a terrible accident.
“What happened?” I asked to anyone who could hear my amazement. “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” A faceless voice said to the crowd.
We stood there staring with mouths open, gazing at the incredible picture that stood before us. I heard a couple of clicks of a camera coming over my left shoulder and then the clicks stopped. I turned to see why. The man taking the pictures moved the camera away from his face and pointed to the sky. I turned back to see what he was pointing at and saw fingers pointing to the sky at the same object. Then it hit.
An unrehearsed choreographed gasp brought the corner of 14th street to a halt.
I didn’t feel sad or scared. I didn’t feel angry or amazed.
I felt absolutely nothing. Empty. Hollow. Nothing was in me. At that moment, in those following seconds, everything was taken out of me. I thought of nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing. Just being. Those seconds were my genesis.
What I have seen since I am not ready to write yet. Now my memory and my thoughts have changed. I am a changed person.
I now cry with a clenched fist.