There was a segment on the news about 911. It still rouses up so much in me. I have always meant to record my memories of that time. I was afraid they might start to fade, but they haven't.
I remember it was a beautiful warm morning. It was my last day of work as a nurse in a pediatric ICU. I was in a four-patient room when I noticed some of the parents gathered around one of the televisions mounted on the wall. I was at the bedside with my patient who was having a cardiac ultrasound. The ultrasonographer and I both stopped to see what was capturing everyone's attention. It takes something big to pull parents of critically ill children away. The only sound in the room came from the cardiac monitors. Hands to mouths, we all stood starring at the screen in collective horror, shock, disbelief. I will never forget how the tears streamed down the face of the ultrasonographer. Then the second plane hit.
Soon the unit manager went room to room, telling us that the televisions would have to be turned off for the rest of the day. The world might be permanently changing, and while none of us knew how much more was to come, the manager wanted to make sure we retained focus.
I almost never took a break when I was working, but that day I did. I ran to a payphone and called my friend Shane who lives in NYC. It took a few tries but I got through. He told me he was ok, but was at that moment, standing by his window watching what was left of the towers. "Oh my G-D, Rachel! You wouldn't fucking believe what I am looking at. You wouldn't fucking believe it", he repeated again and again.
Hanging up, I could barely breath. I needed to get outside. I stepped out of the climate-controlled hospital into an unseasonably warm September day. The sky could not have been bluer. It was the same clarity and vibrancy of the sky in NYC at that very moment. I sat on a bench a block away. There were these bushes with the most beautiful huge white flowers. Fall flowers. I lit a cigarette and looked up into the blue sky.