Personal Essay: Victim of Tragedy

flower 2017

It was a Tuesday.
I never listened to the radio in work – I was more of a compact disc person since I just figured out how to make my own CDs with music I ignorantly downloaded from the Internet.
I met a guy the previous year – also ignorantly on the Internet – which is a story in and of itself. He walked out on me after a disagreement about money and drove his car down to Virginia to see his sister whom he had not seen or spoken to for three years. After two days he had called me to beg for forgiveness; for a home.
Anyway, my co-worker, who was in the business of talking customers into an extra bundle of pizza boxes, yelled from the back office, “An airplane crashed into one of the twin towers!”
My first thought: What are the twin towers? My second thought: That’s what happens when you drink on the job.
I continued to print reports while working on a short story for my creative writing class. It was nice to have a job where I could get things done for me.
It made up for the shitty pay due to my lack of office skills.
My coworker shouted from the back again: “Another plane hit the other tower!”
Okay, so I guess it’s not drunk flying. I turned on the radio and listened to WMMR as Pierre Robert told me what he heard so far.
The phone rang.
It was my boyfriend.
“Airplanes flew into the twin towers,” he breathed.
“I know,”I said. “I just turned on the radio.”
“Oh Jesus, something just flew into the Pentagon.” He screamed.
“Doesn’t your sister work there?”
“Yes. This is unbelievable.” I could hear the panic in his voice as he sipped his 56-ounce refill cup of Pepsi and dragged on his cigarette.
I looked out the door again at the vehicles whizzing by. Did they know what was happening? One of the owners appeared outside, framed in the aluminum door – it was the one with the cane and the pimp daddy suits. He was a large man; Jewish; arrogant.
I didn’t like him.
My boyfriend told me he spoke with his dad. Her promotion carried her to the side of the building that was hit.
I was crying. The arrogant Jew asked me what was wrong. I told him. He asked me to come in his office. He held me and said it was going to be okay; everything was going to be fine and he would take care of me.
Suddenly, I was on my knees, under his desk, between his legs. When he finished, he helped me to my feet, handed me a hundred dollars and a Percocet. He gave me a long, molesting hug and said, “I’m sorry.”
I stared at him right in his eyes – silent and searching like a wounded doe searching the eyes of her hunter.
“Sorry for what?” I finally managed.
“Sorry for your loss,” he said.

*This story is a personal essay based on factual events.
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9/11 ROW80 Check-In

On this day it seems that my ROW 80 Check-In is insignificant compared to what today marks.  It was ten years ago today that our nation came under attack.  Thousand of people lost their lives.  Hundreds of people were heroes.

At this moment, there is television coverage and reflections on MSNBC.  I sit here, crying as I watch footage of people running for their lives as the Twin Towers come crashing down. The Pentagon mutilated. A band of heroes on Flight #93 who, in their bravery, prevented the deaths of many more Americans.

I’ll be doing my ROW#80 check-in tomorrow…

God Bless the fallen… we will never forget 9/11/01.

9/11 – Ten Years Later – Ten Million Times Stronger

Every person that was alive and over the age of twelve on 9/11/01 can most likely recall exactly where they were the moment they heard the horrific news that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.

I was sitting at the front desk of Olympic Paper Company in Philadelphia, PA.  I was 28 years old, in college and blindly beginning a serious alcohol and drug problem.

The weather that day was amazing.

At first I thought, wow, how tragic.  I guess the pilot fell asleep or something.  I mean, to crash into a building in a densely populated city, there must have been a malfunction on a surreal level.  Like, who does that?  Crashes into a building?

Then, Janice, a customer service rep who dressed way too young for her age, shouted from the back: “Another plane just hit!”

I was stunned.  We were all stunned.  Two planes hitting the two twin towers minutes apart was no coincidence.  Something was going on….

The news that would flood the airways and television screens for the days to come would be some of the most morbid, tragic words and images any American would hear in their lifetime.

Terrorist attack.

Flight 93.

The Pentagon.

People jumping from buildings 40 – 60 stories in the air to spare the agony of being burned alive.

There were graphic pictures and even more graphic news footage of people running for cover when the second tower could no longer hold on.  That tower came crashing to the ground in defeat, taking thousands of people with it.

I was in a relationship with a man whose sister worked at the Pentagon.  We feared the worst.  Optimistically, we heard that there were survivors in the Pentagon.  His sister had been working on the opposite side from where the plane (missile) had hit.

We received sad news.  His sister was granted a promotion… to the annihilated side of the building two weeks before the attack.

Eventually, after the dust settled and life had to go on, we all got back to our lives.  It all felt different.  Freedom.  Solidarity. United States of America.  It  took on new meaning.  People flew flags anywhere they could.  They taped them to their car antennas and got magnets for their trunks.

And somehow, in some weird twist, many people I have talked to from then  until now, knew someone (or someone of someone) killed in the 9/11 tragedy.

One Nation, Under God, Indivisible… With Liberty and Justice For All.