I was working in market research on 25th Street. I arrived at work at 9:01. Co-workers were already gathered at the rear picture window, watching the first tower burn from the top down. I called my mom. “Do you think it’s terrorists?” she asked. I told her not to jump to any—and watched the shadow of the second plane collide with the other tower. One woman collapsed screaming while everyone else just stood there frozen, like those people in Kansas on The Day After right before the nuclear explosion turned them all to skeletons. I walked to the Upper West Side with my friend Meagan, found a Tower Records open, and bought Bob Dylan’s new album, Love & Theft. I then walked all the way back to Sunset Park, through roadblocks and makeshift water stations, past bars full to capacity, then home over the Manhattan Bridge. I looked back over my shoulder at the orange sky over the cloud of dust where the two towers used to be. Somehow, at least for that day, it seemed less real than the nuclear disaster I’d seen on TV when I was nine.

Just added to The List and the Story: My Aughts

AuthorJohn Proctor