A Normal Day

Sitting in the cold, hard, classroom chair she stared at the television screen, unwilling to believe the scene unfolding before her very eyes. Glancing around the silence-filled classroom, she saw the looks of disbelief on the familiar faces of her classmates. It was just a normal day. She was supposed to go through the regular routine school day, only to return home to her mother’s constant nagging to do her homework, and her father…her father. He had left the day before on a Monday for a business trip to the World Trade Center in New York. He was only to be there for three days, returning late Wednesday night. As she sat there, her mind raced, filling with all the endless possibilities.

Her name was Eliza. It was a typical fall day in Wilmington, North Carolina. The leaves on the trees were just beginning to change color, and the temperature outside would soon begin to drop.

It was the year 2001; September 11 to be exact. This day would soon be remembered everywhere as a tragic day in American history. People would mourn for years to come, and gravestones would be marked with voluptuous flowers every year.
After the conclusion of another ‘normal’ school day, Eliza ran home faster than she ever had in her entire life. When she burst through the screen door leading into the kitchen she found her mother at the kitchen table, phone in hand. She approached the table with caution, plopping into the chair diagonal from the woman who had given birth to her some sixteen years ago. As she looked up, Eliza met her mother’s eyes only to find that they were red and puffy. It was then that she knew. Suddenly, she too burst into tears, her eyes becoming equally as red and puffy.

They sat there at the table, crying for what seemed like a century. Eventually they resigned to the couch, where they sat huddle together in silence for several hours, the occasional sniffle the only break of the crisp silence.
The funeral was held a week later on September 18, 2001. Friends and family sobbed together, mourning over the loss of a man so brave and talented he could never be replaced.

On September 11, 2001 a father, friend, and colleague lost his life when the second World Trade Center tower collapsed on his floor, crushing his body. Two days later he was later discovered in the debris, clutching a photograph of two women in his hand, one older, and one just sixteen years old. On the back, in messy, rushed handwriting it said, “To my girls. Love always.”





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