I left Miami Beach on Monday, September 10th. It was an afternoon flight. I was sunbaked and delirious with joy. After two weeks of strolling the beach, eating late decadent breakfasts and supreme dinners, not to mention the snacks, trawling the stores and over-priced boutiques; I reluctantly bade farewell to Miami Beach and all its deco-decadent headiness.
On my descent into La Guardia, I noticed the Twin Towers punctuating the skyline and nodded approvingly. New York, my hometown and now my forever home. I am an immigrant. I am an American citizen and my entire immediate family lives in New York City across the five boroughs and spill over into New Jersey.
The next day, September 11, 2001, I arrived at the Firm in the best of spirits and readied myself for work. Alone on the floor, the whirring of the printer ceased. It had jammed. I hurried to clear it. The lights dimmed, the building shook. I looked up and out the massive windows and saw a shower of black confetti and what looked like a person free-falling. My brain did not translate any of what I saw, but deep within my gut, there was a primal urge to run. I grabbed my bag and two very important items from the firm. I ran. I did not know what I was running from. Along the hallway I flung open the men’s room, alerting my boss checking his mustache, I headed for the stairwell. Already there was a stampede. At that moment I knew something terrible had happened and no, it wasn’t an earthquake.
The ordeal and trauma of that day is not what I wish to recall today. Today I am just so overwhelmed at the thought that September 11th, 2021 would be twenty years since I was murdered. September 11th, 2021, would be a memorial of my death.
So many things happened to me on that day, things I would like to purge from memory but find impossible. I keep them as signposts in my life’s journey. That low growling sound of a jet engine over my head, curving, and diving into the Tower with such purpose, the indescribable sound that followed, will forever scrape the flesh from my bones. That sight and sound filleted my senses and kept me awake for months before I succumbed to shell shock and dehydration because I couldn’t stop emptying my bowels. September 11, unraveled me mentally and physically and no one cared except my family who were frantic to find me during the Armageddon. I faced death alone. I couldn’t even phone my Pastor for a prayer.
A good man found me, Angels protected me, God guided my steps and I walked many miles from Manhattan to Eastchester. Numb, dumb, glassy-eyed, clutching my shoes and a napkin.
It’s been two decades. I am alive, I am physically at ease except for the added years, my PTSD has decreased somewhat; I still remember that very beautiful morning when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and I had a glorious tan.
Thanks be to God for two decades of life and love.
May all who perished continue to rest in eternal peace.