Never forget. Never

September 11th, 2001.

I was living in West Hollywood and pretty much thought I had life figured out.  I owned my own condo steps from the strip.  I had a boyfriend (who I later married) and a great life.  I had just been layed off from my job, but didn’t feel it was going to be an issue because I lived in a little bubble where the world was awesome and I was awesome and I was doing too well to have anything bad effect me.  Basically I was a little 20 something brat. Oh and I was hot.

9:07am:

I was asleep.  The phone rang.  This was fairly normal as my BFF Pontea called me every morning from NY because she was at work and I wasn’t and she loved waking me up.  We talked every single day.  After getting my ass out of bed, we’d be on AIM all day long.

When I picked up the phone, I hadn’t even rolled over.  I knew who it was.  I just said “what?”.  What?  That was all I said.  No hello.  No hi.  Just “What?”  So horrible.

Pontea was in an absolute panic on the other end of the phone.  I could feel her shaking.  She said “getupturnonthetvyouneedtoseewhatisgoingonthewholeworldisendingandIdon’tknow

whattodoandit’scrazyandscaryandI’mscaredandyouneedtoturnonthetvRIGHTNOW”

Pontea was my best friend.  She was also incredibly dramatic.  So was/am I.  This reaction could have easily been because her office mate put too much sugar in her coffee or Ozzy Osborne announced a new album.  But this really was different.  I shot straight out of bed and turned the TV on.  What I saw wasn’t anything I could understand.  It felt not real.  Like a movie set.  One of the biggest buildings in the world had smoke coming out of it and I had no idea why.  Was this a movie?  Drunk driver?  (look it was early…)  Whatever it was, I was sure it was fixable.  Looked as if a couple of stories of the building were destroyed and I anticipated footage tomorrow of the wreckage.  Blacked out walls and beams.  No windows.  I could tell that people may have died, but they would fix it.  America always fixes it.  We have sadness and tragedy but it is always not as bad as it could have been.  Media goes on for days and days and shows the bad stuff, but always points out the heroes and the stuff that went right so that it didn’t get worse than it was.

I still had no idea why this building was smoking.  Pontea and I stayed on the phone and watched it together.  She was crying and paniced and didn’t know what to do.  She was scared she was going to get hit by a bomb.  We didn’t know if this was a bomb or a war or a gas leak.  At this point I calmed down and just thought Pontea was yet again being dramatic.  A gas leak in a building down the street was NOT a reason to cry.

Then we saw it.  A plane flew right into the second tower.  No words.  We both saw it and just didn’t understand.

I instantly needed to call Mark.  He and his roommate didn’t have a TV at the time so I knew he would have no idea what was going on.  Being that I am known to be as dramatic as Pontea, it was not at all surprising that he didn’t answer when I called.  I called again.  And again.  Eventually I just called Bruce his roommate who also wasn’t gonna appreciate my early morning wakeup.  I called again.  Third time Bruce picked up and said “what do you want woman?!?”

I said:  Bruce.  There has been a huge accident in NYC and both of the twin towers are on fire.  You and Mark need to get up and turn on the news on your computers.  And you need to call your mother.  (Mark and Bruce are both from NY)

While I stayed on the phone he woke up Mark.  Handed Mark the phone while he pulled up the news.  I told Mark and made sure they were on it but I needed to get back to Pontea.

Pontea and I stayed on the phone for hours.  Crying.  We heard there was a third plane.  Was there a 4th?!?  Pontea was terrified but didn’t know where to go.  She worked blocks from the towers and we really didn’t know if more was coming.  We decided she needed to stay where she was and both AIMed everyone to find out who was ok.  And who wasn’t.

This changed my life forever.  For the first time in my life it wasn’t “not as bad as it could have been”.  I watched those towers fall to the ground and just couldn’t believe it.  There was no worse that could have been.  Up until that moment I was always as optimistic as possible and just knew someone was going to fix it.  But nobody did fix it.

It’s sometimes hard to explain how I felt that day.  I spent hours in shock. Everyone did.  I still remember the terror as if it were yesterday and in the 10 years since that day, I have only felt that level of uncontrollable terror twice more.  The fact that things aren’t always going to be OK was something that I had to let into my life.  My bubble had to change.  I was humbled to new levels.

9/11 changed the world.  So much was lost that day.  I will never forget.  I hope nobody does.

Pontea and I lost touch several years later and I miss her.  I think of her every year on 9/11.  She was a huge part of my life and a huge part of the changes I had to make.  I miss everyone I lost that day.  And I miss everyone I’ve lost since that day.  I know  9/11 is everywhere today and its on the minds of all Americans.  I am no different.  I am not special.

But I remember.

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