It was three months later and I was sitting on the subway, going to visit a friend from high school in Uptown Manhattan.
I heard no voices – everyone was sitting in silence. I had always felt uncomfortable sitting in silence since 9/11, but as I sat and listened, waiting for someone to make even the slightest noise, I realised that this wasn't silence. Silence as I had known it was eerie and deathly – is it really any wonder it makes me uncomfortable?
I listened for the first time in what seemed like forever. That was when I heard not silence, filling every square inch of the train, coming towards me, swallowing me up so I am never to be seen again – very similar to how I felt at ground zero except what was swallowing me up was more sinister, a mixture of smoke and dust and flames.
No, I didn't hear nothing, I heard something: the click of the train on the track,
soothing me no end; the rustle of newspapers or pages of best-selling novels being turned frantically and with baited breath, awaiting the next thrill or surprise written by Stephen King or, in the case of the woman next to me, JK Rowling; absent-minded coughs from a school girl opposite me; a hip-hop beat blaring from someone's headphones; a hushed 'excuse me' from a polite-looking young man in a suit after nearly falling into the lap of a stern older man whose broad shoulders were clad in an old wrinkled leather jacket.
And then I realised a smile had crept onto my face. Not a smile seen on birthdays or Christmas, but a knowing smile a child wears when they know a secret. Then I noticed the odd looks coming at me and went back to fiddling with a plaster on my thumb. I felt like I was finally moving on, getting closer to my old self.