A Fourth Grader

Taken from gahdengremlins
You went to school like it was any other day.  Well, any other gym day, so instead of wearing your normal school uniform, you wore your baggy and comfortable gym clothes.  And school had just started.  So we barely got through our first class when they ushered the whole school downstairs.  We just heard something super bad happened downtown and a lot of kids were being picked up as soon as possible by their parents.  They lived close by to the event.  And slowly one by one, they left the building in a hurry.  My dad picked me up relatively early because he was worried that we wouldn't be able to leave.

I remember him telling me that one of the towers fell.  And in my little nine-year-old head, it made zero sense. How can a building just fall?  They're supposed to not do that.  But then walking home up 7th avenue, there the second one stood.  With a backdrop of the clear blue sky, it was just there.  Smoking.  There were flames.  My dad and I stood with onlookers.  Some people ran downtown.  As we're about to walk back, I remember hearing my dad whisper "holy shit."  It was the first time I heard him swear.  And I turned around with him.  And it came down.  It just stacked on top of itself and I thought things usually fell over; not straight down.  These were such petty thoughts, but nothing made sense.  People were screaming and it was just completely unreal.

I remember coming home and when my dad put the key in our door, I asked him, "Dad, did that seriously just happen?"  And he nodded.  I went home and turned on the television.  Everything about it was horrifying.  Scarier than the Ghost Ship movie I had seen with my friends at a sleepover a few weeks ago.  The events of the day came so much clearer but it was still really bizarre.  The most horrifying thing for me, besides, you know, the whole situation, was the video footage of people falling off the side of the building.  I'm still horrified of heights and it took me back to literally a few days prior when my dad and I went to the top as part of a touristy loop of NYC we did.  We made it to the top.  And I looked down and imagining someone dropping down from there was just mind-numbing.  I shut off the telly and watched something cheerful, like Dora the Explorer.  And I was 9.  The worst was thinking about how that could have happened.  And it still is.

Rewatching the footage with half a morbid fascination, it remains as terrifying.  Hearing the stories of people being there in the towers, I can't imagine what I would do.  And looking back, I became terrified of everything, just because I saw it.  And it's silly.  I know it's not as significant as losing someone or being there or helping people and not being sure if you'd make it out alive, but that day was just something that you could not forget if you tried.

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