I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already. You hear people say that all the time in an abstract way on how time pushes forward while they’re somewhat stuck looking at one still moment in time. In the craziness of the day I still remember every little thing that happen and the emotions that I was going through. Well the emotions that we were all going through in some form or another. I wrote this blog about 5 years ago in which I posted and reposted to several social networking site as each anniversary passed. After this year, I will retire it. As a part of growing and moving on, I need to work on moving passed EVERYTHING that happened that month. I was only 20 when this happen, just a kid that was barely out of high school and had no understanding of what the world was trying to offer me, but on this day 10 years ago all that changed and I was forced just like the rest of the country to walk with fear.
So here is my story about that day…
I was dreaming… I don’t remember what it was about but I knew I was dreaming until it happen. That damn phone call. It was 7:30 in the morning and let’s be honest WHO would want to receive a call that early. Rolling over I looked at the Caller ID and it was a familiar number. My co-worker Jerry Garcia that just started working at the same store in Queens as I did with my Best-friend as our boss.
“Hey Kenny… Can you do me a huge favor, please… Tell Kobe that I can’t come in today because I can’t get anyone to drive me into the City and Queens… and that I will try to come in tomorrow if I could get a ride to pick up my check.”
Pissed, I said, “You know that Kobe has a Cell phone, why the hell are you calling my ass for?”
“Kenny come on can you do me this favor?” he whined.
“Whatever, Jerry I will talk to you later” I said hanging up the phone. I tossed the covers aside, went into the kitchen made breakfast. My grandmother was in her usually seat in the Living room watching Walker Texas Ranger and she was hooting and hollering as Chuck Norris kicked some bad guys ass. Once I finished with breakfast I brushed my teeth and headed back into my room to lay back down.
The timer on the TV turned itself on and the WB11 morning news was staring back at me. Ironically they were doing the weather forecast and talked about how beautiful the day was going to be. But of course no one knew what was to come beside those that put it in action. In a flash I turned the television off and turned on Z100, hoping to hear some music that would put me in a better mood. It was 8:30, when I closed my eyes hoping that would at least get another 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep before I had to get ready for work and be there on time at 11, but then the announcement came.
DJ Elvis Duran of the Z-morning Zoo broke into a song and announced that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center building a few minutes ago. I opened my eyes and grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. It was true. As I flip through every channel that had images of one of the World Trade Center buildings on fire.
“Great…” I whispered. I just knew that nothing good was going to come from this.
It was just before 9am when I called my boss/best friend. He had just gotten into the store and from his voice he was nursing a hangover.
“Hey, Kobe” I said, somewhat extra cheerful.
“What happen?” he said automatically. After being best friends for so long he knew my moods.
“Well, I got a call from Jerry this morning and he wanted me to tell you that he wasn’t coming in today and –“… before I could say anything else he started screaming.
“THAT STUPID MOTHERFUC-“ Well you get the point he was pissed and swore up and down that Jerry’s ass was out and would be fired as soon as he finished his coffee. Just before I was about to hang up, I remember the plane crash. I took the remote from my grandmother, which she cursed at me about and turned it to network television.
“Kobe, have you seen the news yet?” I asked
“No… what’s up?” he answered.
“Well going home might be a problem for you because some plane crashed into the World Trade Center…”
“What!!!” he exclaimed.
He turned on the televisions in his store and he stared at the same images that I was staring at in my home. “Oh shit” he exclaimed. Flames and smoke were gushing out of the tall structure as the people below stood in shock.
“I wonder how something like-“ It felt like it was slow motion. Before I could complete my sentence we both saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center and explode. The words: Oh my God…escaped my lips. It was at that point I knew there was much more to this than just being a coincidence.
“Kenny did you see that? Did you see that?” he said. I couldn’t speak as the second tower began to explode in fire and what seems like a billion broken shards of glass crashing to the ground below.
“Kobe I don’t believe it?” I finally said.
“But you saw it too, right? You saw that plane hit the building right?”
“Yeah I did… I think I did…” I said confirming not only what Kobe saw but what I’ve seen as well. “Kobe I will call you back...” I said after a short pause.
My first thought was my mother. Was she at work or was she at the World Trade Center? I just need to make sure. Since she was looking for a new job and most of the people in her company were now employed at the World Trade. I grabbed the phone again and called my mother’s cell phone and to my shock, I heard it ringing in a pair of discard jeans on my bedroom floor. I had forgotten that I had used it that weekend and forgot to give it back to her. This day of all days, why did I do something stupid like that? I dialed her work number and all it did was ring and go to her voicemail. After the 7th time I was in a panic. She had to be alright… I kept telling myself and my grandmother was no help. She didn’t understand what was really happening or why I was stressing out the way I was.
“It’s nothing…” she kept saying to me in her deep southern drawl. “Your mama ain’t there she is at work”
But I knew better. As quickly as I could I grabbed some jeans and a shirt and raced out of the door leaving my grandmother no longer watching the broadcast but Walker, Texas Ranger.
Nothing worked. The trains were at a standstill and tempers at the train station were at its breaking point. No one knew anything and the token booth operator was at loss for words. I ran liked the wind to catch the B12 bus to take me across Brooklyn so I can at least find be closer to Downtown where I was praying my mother would be. The bus was crowded full of more people that were more confused than I was. The rumor mill was fluttering around that there more planes crashing and one crashed into a building in Washington D.C. The bus just passed Kings county hospital when some one said that one of the buildings collapsed. That was the first time I cried. Tears were streaming down my face, and a woman patted my back telling me that it was going to be okay. I couldn’t tell you what she looked like or how she sounded, I just remembered her patting my back and me saying something about needed my mother. When the bus finally made it to Flatbush Ave., I was one of the first ones out and rushed to the connected bus stop. At the B41 bus stop on Flatbush Ave. and Parkside Ave. I waited with another crowd of people looking to get into a cramped bused. The bus driver told everyone that there were no buses heading to downtown Brooklyn at that time. Men and women were cursing and screaming at each other, the bus driver and at the world. I couldn’t let this set back stop me. I started to run up Flatbush Ave. and towards Downtown. With my mother’s cell phone in hand I called her job again and received no answer.
As I passed the Prospect Park train station on the Q train I started to notice something. There were no cars traveling around me anymore and the people coming towards me were not longer white or black… they were gray. Gray people. These Gray people were everywhere as I raced passed the infamous Prospect Park.
As I reached Grand Army Plaza, I saw a female police officer and went up to her.
“Excuse me officer, is it true? Did a building collapsed?” I asked breathing hard from running and I feared that I would faint right there.
“I don’t know…” she said trying to direct people around. As I started again towards Downtown when the officer grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“I got to find my mother” I said, trying to pull my arm away.
“It’s a mess down there, you will only be in the way…” she told me, but I didn’t listen or care about what she was trying to say to me. I had only one objective and that was my mother. And so I moved on. Rushing through the sea of gray people, I stopped at an electric store, where a friend of mine was working located on Atlantic Ave. and Flatbush Ave. The store was crowded with people hovering around the television and buying radios, batteries and other things. My friend Mathew took me into the backroom where I was trying to hold myself together. On the television in the back room I saw the last tower fall to the earth and people just started to cry and gasp. The Mayor was calling for those to leave lower Manhattan and I was scared out of my mind. I looked up at Mathew and he looked down at me and we were speechless.
His mind was on his wife and daughter and I was completely blank. I didn’t know what to do or say. Before I knew it I was out of the door and back on my journey. Downtown Brooklyn was a mad house full of people running from the imaginary boogeyman that was now in your lives. The Gray people were in numbers now, some bleeding, some crying but all covered in ash. As I made my way through the crowded Fulton Street Mall area in Downtown, Brooklyn I tried to close my mind to what was going on around me.
My mother was standing in front of her job. When I saw her, I couldn’t let her go. It was embarrassing to my mother because I just held her and kissed each of her cheeks over and over again right in front of her Boss. She smiled.
“Why didn’t you pick up the phone?” I asked my face flooded with tears.
“I wasn’t at my desk… we were at the window and saw the planes hit… so we got the hell out of the building. When I got a chance to call the house, your grandmother said that you were coming down here to get your MAMA!!!” she said laughing.
I do not remember the way home or what we talked about, but I do remember that I held her hand all the way home. Over the next few days we found out that many of her friends and old co-workers died that morning in the may lay. I didn’t feel anything for the many died that morning at first; my main focus was my mother and she was with me. But as the images of the destruction started to be over played on national television displaying families, spouses and others calling for their missing love one that was surely dead, it made me wonder what was going to happen next. Even now I am still wondering what is next…