It was nighttime in the city that never sleeps. Traffic was murder, muggers were loose and everyone was frustrated. I was walking down the street approaching the World Trade Center towers. My mom was in there for a tour and I was off somewhere else.
Suddenly, a massive explosion shook this whole city. The first tower exploded and fell at my feet. Over the boom were screams from children. Smoke coated the sky. I searched for my mother rapidly, calling for her.
The second tower exploded. Soon, New York was covered in debris.
I woke up around three in the morning on the 11th of September.
"It was only a dream." I told myself. What scared me was that my mother was in New York at the time.
I actually forced her to go. She needed a vacation. Taming three girls is not an easy thing to do, especially with a husband who knows nothing about them. My mother cooked, cleaned, did laundry and shopped for a living.
September 11th 2001; the day my life changed. I was at school when the principal told us over the PA that we had to go home. All the students were excited despite how frightened he seemed.
When I got home, my sisters Mirra and Jenaya were sitting on the couch. My father had his arms crossed and his foot tapped against the brown carpet.
"Why were we let out of school?" I asked Mirra. She shrugged indicating that she didn't know.
"Turn on the TV." My father ordered. I turned the TV on even more confused. "Change it to the news." Uh oh. What happened? I flipped to the Canadian news channel. On the screen was a tall building with smoke arising from it.
There appears to be more smoke and fire engulfing the top of the building as you can see. There are firefighters on the scene now but this does not look like any ordinary building fire.
My sisters and I held our breath as a plane came into view and smashed into the other tower.
Oh my God! It looks like a second plane just hit the other tower! This is no accident. It looks like our neighbor is being attacked!
"Oh no!" Mirra gasped. "No!"
"Mom's there!" Jenaya cried.
"Keep watching." My dad told us. "She'll be fine."
I held my breath as I watched for minutes, reporters talking to each other about what they thought was going on. The cameras zoomed into the one of the buildings. I could see a person in the window waving his arms, desperately pleading for help. Debris was shedding off the buildings.
And then I realized that it wasn't debris; they were people jumping off the building. Tears sprung from my eyes. What if she was really in there? When I told her to go on a vacation to New York, I didn't think any of this would happen. She said she would go see everything. That made me think she'd just see the Statue of Liberty, the park, Chinatown and Times Square. I didn't think a fun person like my mom would go into a plain cylinder shaped building.
But that morning before we went to school, Jenaya told us she talked to mom. She said she was on her way to the World Trade Center. I assumed it was just to stand on the roof. What else was there to do?
We watched more of the news. The second tower crumbled to the ground. My sisters screamed behind me and cried in each other's arms. Out of the smoke, I saw the image of a demon with its wings spread and it's jaw clenched.
"All we can do now is pray." Said my father. "Say a prayer for your mother girls."
I was petrified. Medusa seemed to turn me into stone as I sat still in front of the TV.
This has to be a nightmare, I told myself. This can't be real.
At eight that night, my dad answered the phone and slammed it against the receiver after the call was made. He made the three of us sit down and placed a tissue box on the coffee table.
"That was the New York Fire Department." He said. "They found your mother."
"Is she dead?" Mirra asked anxiously.
My father sighed and nodded his head. I lost control of myself and ran upstairs, locking myself in the bathroom. For hours I leaned against the bathtub sobbing, as if it would bring my mother back. It was as if there was venom in my blood as my throat started to hurt. My entire face was soaking wet from tears.
She was everything to me. My mother was my world. I'd miss her smile and kindness. She was beautiful like a swan and gentler than a flower. One thing I knew I'd miss was her cooking. The best meals I've ever eaten were prepared by her including her cookies and pies. Her pecan pie was legendary. The whole town loved it and she made money selling them.
In fall, she would take us out to the pumpkin farm to carve them up for Halloween. In winter, she would take us to the ski lodge where I could just sit and enjoy cocoa while my sister's skied. In spring during a rainstorm, she would shout "Come on out girls!" and we would dance in the rain. In the summer, I would spend constant hours with her on the beach.
But I would never get to do that stuff again. The last time I saw her, she was saying goodbye and heading off to the airport. And I didn't get the chance to say 'I love you'.
After her funeral, I came home and opened the refrigerator, ignoring my father's protests. On the middle shelf was the last of her legendary pecan pies. I took it out and went to the restroom. The fork was in my hand but I couldn't urge myself to eat it.
But I did. I took a bite and almost chocked trying to swallow it.
And to think I could have saved her.