I just couldn’t update until I had checked on Cubicle Girl. I know I don’t even know her, but I have been reading her diary every day for over a year. And I haven’t ever even left a guestbook entry because I am too shy, but I just couldn’t begin to put my feelings into words until I had made sure Cubicle Girl was ok. And she is. As ok as one can be who left the World Trade Center to be with the one she loved in Boston. In a city that is on lock-down now because of the disaster at the World Trade Center. As ok as one can be who knows that her former office and all the things she compiled for her company are now in that rubble. As ok as one can be when she knows that she would have seen it all happen on her way in to work.
I just cannot fathom it.
I cannot fathom any of it. I don’t think anyone from my generation really can fathom any of it. I think life is going on again, and then I think of the images that have been bombarding me from the television screen since Tuesday. I think of the jets exploding in the towers. I think of the people jumping out of the high floors of the towers. I see again the falling of each of the buildings, of the rubble that was left — footage shot by a man who ignored all the security personnel and went to Ground Zero despite the danger.
As if a bomb had detonated. As if we were in a war. As if it really were nuclear winter, the way the broadcasters have been describing the area of Manhattan that’s left.
I was at work. Kurt called me on my cell phone to tell me that something serious had happened at the WTC. I didn’t even really comprehend what he was talking about; I don’t think I heard him. I turned up FM99 in my office and heard. Tommy and Rumble, the morning dj’s for FM99, never once played a song. They went to commercial break only when they themselves needed to regroup from the information they were relaying on to us. I went downstairs to John and Tesfa’s office to tell them the WTC had been hit. We were worried, but not scared. Not yet.
Unknown time later. The attack on the Pentagon. Someone said the heliport was hit. Damage to the building on the side of the heliport. What side of the building is Dad?? Where is Dad?? What’s going on?! The third floor has caved in on the second floor. Dad’s office is on the second floor!! Damage all the way through to the courtyard, through all five rings. Which ring does Dad work in?? Why can’t I remember?? Where is Dad??
Wait. Dad was moving to a new office in the renovated part of the building. Has he moved already?? I tried to call Marty. I tried to call Mom. I tried to call Kurt. My cell phone was not functioning. So I went outside. Jets from NAS Oceana screamed overhead. I couldn’t hear whether I was getting a connection. I left a message on Kurt’s cell phone. Finally I got a hold of Momma on the work phone.
Later Momma called me back at work. Dad’s fine — Michele had talked to his office assistant earlier in the morning and he was to be at Bethesda at a doctor’s appointment, and then take the Sequioa in to the dealership. He was to be gone all day. But what about his assistant, Suzette? Where is she??
I was just to upset to stay at work. I went home. Kurt got home not long after I did and I stayed glued to his side all afternoon. We watched television for hours. We went to Rose’s for community support; Royall wanted to know why I was crying. A three-year-old can’t comprehend. I can’t comprehend.
Finally, FINALLY, I call Dad and get through. 3pm on September 11. I get his voice. I hear for myself that he’s ok. Relief floods through me, and even some guilt for being one of the lucky ones that didn’t lose a loved one.
I call Michelle from work later that night to ask what was going on at work. They never sent anyone home, but they were all glued to the radio. They should have evacuated. Had even one of the cylinders blown up for some reason, the entire building would go with it, and we have dozens of cylinders. Our company is right next to NAS Oceana. They evacuated the schools next to the bases to keep the children safe. But fortunately, Norfolk was not a target. The largest complex of military installations, and we were not a target.
I was scared to sleep that night. I wasn’t afraid of getting hurt myself; I was afraid to wake up the next morning to even more devastating news somewhere in the country.
My poster of the Brooklyn Bridge, framed so that I could make a NYC theme of my living room, shows the Manhattan skyline. Complete with the towers of the WTC.
Each time I look at it, I get chills.