Riding the 4 uptown to my job at 96th street is where I was when the first plane hit.
I overheard something about a plane but ignored it, as I had learned to do when on the subway. As I walked into my job, at a health club, I overheard on one of the tv’s that the subways were closed but I just got off the subway, what’s going on??.
Soon I saw on the TV what was going on, and I thought to myself, who would pick up….I called my dad to please tell everyone I am ok, I knew I could trust him to get the word out, after that the phones stopped working.
I remember just sitting there with co-workers in a daze, all wondering how we would make it home.
Going upstairs to someone’s apartment, looking out the window and seeing the street full of people walking uptown towards harlem.
I stayed there til subways were back on, and took the train not all the way, I think only to downtown and walking the rest of the way home to my home on Madison and Franklin in Brooklyn.
I remember during the first few days thinking of the surgery I had scheduled I think it was on the twentieth…to patch my PFO and reduce my risk of having another stroke to that of a normal 20 year old girl. I wondered that first day if there would be room in the hospital…there must be a lot of people hurt.
When it was time for my surgery the hospitals weren’t full…they were just about empty, because almost everyone was dead. I remember my neurologist telling me about how he had been working day and night, sorting through debris looking for body parts.
I remember hearing about friends who having come from other country’s for school had left.
I remember the blank look on a close friends face scared me. I wondered if she would come back, ever be her fun loving self again. I remember her muttering “I saw people jumping.”
most of all I remember the awe of strangers faces, suddenly making eye contact, and smiling. It was like we were all recognizing each others presence, and acknowledging that we were there. We were alive. We were grateful.
I remember wishing the angry people could see this beauty. I remember being angry when our president used it as a reason to proclaim war. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t understand that violence causes more violence…did we really want more?
Wasn’t this enough?
I was sad when my fellow Americans seemed to unite and say that no, we are just getting started.
I had a month of feeling normal post surgery before I felt like I had another stroke.
I got a spinal tap and got a terrible spinal headache requiring a blood patch procedure, during finals.
Another month later I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Then the year ended.