September 11 – I Remember

 

In 2001, I was working as a waitress at an Irish pub in downtown Chicago.

I remember seeing the planes crash that morning on TV… over and over…

and over.

I remember all the high rises being evacuated, and businesses closing.

I remember the talks of Chicago perhaps being hit.

I remember my boss declaring that we would remain open because people would need a place to go.  I have no way of knowing if he was simply seizing a revenue opportunity, or speaking from his heart… or both.

The subways were overflowing, and then shut down.  People couldn’t get home.  There were hundreds and hundreds of people…

just stuck downtown…

standing on the sidewalks…

holding their phones up searching for a signal…

meandering…

I remember being pissed off that I had to work – that I couldn’t just sit down and call, email, or frantically text the many friends I had in Manhattan and was poor at keeping in touch with.

I remember the disbelief.

I remember the numbness.

I remember the oddness of everyone holding a beer.

So many beers…

So early in the morning…

The restaurant was crowded from front to back – standing room only, though people kept trying to squeeze their way in.  Everyone was gathered around the many televisions…

so many people…

yet so quiet.

I remember actually feeling the weight of the numbers 9 1 1 change forever in our collective consciousness.

The air was almost solid, and I remember thinking that from this point on the world would never be the same.

Then I remember trying to absorb small details so that I could retell this dream after I woke up.

I remember one woman sobbing.  She said she wasn’t hungry.  She said she couldn’t get in touch with him.  She showed me her shoe and told me it was broken.

She openly sobbed.

I remember feeling helpless.

I didn’t ask her name.

I didn’t ask who she was talking about.

The lump in my throat was too big to squeeze sound past.

I squeezed her hand for a second.

And even though she didn’t order it…

I got her a beer.

 

 

 

PS- I lost no loved ones and inhaled no ash.  I feel my words are small today, but these moments are etched on my brain. Feel free to leave me a comment about what you remember, or a link to something you’ve written or read.

Always remember.  Never forget.

In 2001, I was working as a waitress in downtown Chicago. I remember seeing the planes crash… over and over… and over. I remember the high rises being evacuated, and businesses closing. I remember the talks of Chicago perhaps being hit. I remember my boss declaring that we would remain open because people would need a place to go.  I have no way of knowing if he was simply seizing a revenue opportunity, or speaking from his heart… or both. The subways were overflowing, and people couldn’t get home.  There were hundreds and hundreds of people… just stuck downtown… I remember being pissed off that I couldn’t just sit down and call, email, or frantically text the many friends I had in Manhattan and was poor at keeping in touch with. I remember the disbelief. I remember the numbness. I remember the oddness of everyone holding a beer. The restaurant was crowded from front to back – standing room only.  Everyone was gathered around the many televisions… so many people… yet so quiet. I remember actually feeling the weight of the numbers 9 1 1 change forever in our collective consciousness. I remember one woman sobbing.  She said she wasn’t hungry.  She said she couldn’t get in touch with him.  She said her shoe was broken. She openly sobbed. I remember feeling helpless. I didn’t ask her name. I didn’t ask who she was talking about. I held her hand. And even though she didn’t order it… I got her a beer.     image - Chris Sokoloski

image – Chris Sokoloski

 

PPS – I’ll be offline today to hug my loved ones…

and then hug them some more.

 

 

 

 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *