7 years ago, I was sitting in Cell Biology class when one of the co-ordinating professors walked into the middle of the lecture, whispered a few words to his counterpart, turned and told us that we were dismissed for the day because there had just been a terrorist attack. For one minute, there was a dead silence in the room. And then a lot of twittering and whispering. And someone asked if this was a joke. But he didn’t answer. His attention was no longer focused on us. The two professors were talking to each other. We were no longer of consequence because we had been dismissed.
We all walked out. Some of us thought it was some elaborate joke. Some cell phones started ringing immediately (the building is literally a dead zone for cell phone service). Some people started crying. shit. This is real. A close friend of mine started calling his brother, who lives in Manhatten. No service. crap. A bunch of us headed back towards my place because back then I still had cable (yay for part-time jobs). CNN was switched on. And it stayed there the entire day.
I never saw the towers fall. Or people jumping out of the buildings. I think by then the television networks had decided that it was too graphic. Too traumatic. But my parents had seen it all the way in SIngapore. They weren’t freaked out. They knew I wasn’t in DC or NYC. I was too much of a good girl to sneak off for a daytrip that far away.
My friend’s brother was alright. He didn’t go to work that day. But I still pray for the souls of those who did go to work that day. And the ones who flew that day. And their families. And those who went and tried to retrieve the bodies of those who died that day.