5 years ago.
I was watching the Odd Couple, getting ready for work, deciding to take advantage of the somewhat flexible hours at my job ( a non-profit research organization located right off Wall St) because the episode was so funny. I remember the last line: Oscar said: "I went on deck to eat the sandwiches and I was attacked by seagulls." Of course, the irony of a joke about being attacked by air on that very day didn't quite exist yet for me.
Out on my bike, in Jersey City Heights, almost at the park on Ogden St with the view of the skyline. One half of my life is suspended, a few pedals away from turning and seeing the North Tower burning. The remaining part of my life rolls away from that moment. It was a sunny day, of course.
I looked at it. My first reaction was excitement! I work so close to this. We'll goof off all day and watch the rescue. Death didn't enter my mind. At all.
Another block before the skyline comes into view, down Mountain Rd to Hoboken. All along the street, people were running to the corner to see it.
A lazy plane circle around the fire. I lost sight of it as the South Tower exploded.
I really just rode my bike without thinking anything much. People were walking away from the Path Station, but I got on the uptown train to 33rd. The WTC train I would normally take was, of course, not running, but I had to get to work. Plus, I didn't want to miss the action.
Stuffed on the train, with everyone else still trying to get to work like any other day. A woman screamed : "Two planes painted black just crashed into the World trade Center!" Another woman said: "Then why are we going to New York?" and the doors shut and off we went.
From 9th St I tried calling work, but my boss strongly suggested I try to reach my wife and not try to get Downtown.
Running through Washington Sq. park, through a silent collection of people.
The receptionist waved me towards the staff room. I could hear my wife talking to her mother (in Pittsburgh) and saying "I don't know where he is....!" with the slightest shade of panic.
We were together after that. For weeks we stayed together. We felt so guilty and lucky to be together, and angry and lost.
We were sitting watching TV at my wifes work. The North Tower shook.
My wife worked at a gynastics school in Cooper Sq. We ran across the padded floor and around matts to the south windows.
My wife remembers the tower falling. I must have been to shocked. I have a snapshot of the top of the tower peeking from a cloud of dust.
A day of dust and biblical exoudos. I saw two women window shopping for shoes while a thousand upset people walked past, some crying.
The ferry home, with all tunnels and trains shut down, with everyone else. And the guy in the suit repeating "Not in my lifetime...."