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*Note: In preparation for the composition of this historical fiction, a very minute portion of this piece has been composed of fractions of dialogue from real live news footage from September 11, 2001 from programs such as CBS, FOX, CNN Live and ABC News Live Coverage. No credit infringement intended.

7:00 am
Jonathan

“Jonathan, I don’t want to argue about this anymore. This isn’t going anywhere and I’m getting tired.” she said holding a crying Mason in her arms. He looked at his wife. She looked weary with dark circles under her eyes and her hair was askew. He flattened his suit jacket with his hands, straightened his tie in the mirror, grabbed his briefcase and started toward the door.

“Samantha, please just listen to me. This shouldn’t even be a problem.” His wife followed him to the door.

“It isn’t a problem John, you’re making it a problem by blowing it up to be much bigger than it is.” she sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between her eyes in frustration.

“Can we talk about this later tonight?” he stopped to look at her, half defeated.

“Fine.”

“I have to go to work.” He set down his briefcase, placed his arms on those of his wife, and went in to kiss her on the cheek. She closed her eyes and turned away. He slowly dropped his arms from hers, scorched by rejection. He put his hand on his 11-month old son’s round face, wet from tears.

“Keep an eye on Mommy, okay Mason? I love you.” He kissed his son on his little bald head and looked at his wife one last time before he walked out the door.

He went through his usual enduring and monotonous routine for his commute to work: He walked three blocks to the nearest metro station, rode the red line for twenty-five minutes down to Lower Manhattan, got off on Chambers St., walked the remaining distance to the South Building of the Twin Towers located in the World Trade Center, and rode one of the 95 elevators up to the 65th floor.


8:30 am
Jonathan

Ding!
Floor Sixty-Five. Morgan Stanley, the robotic female voice in the elevator announced. He stepped out of the elevator and walked to his office. He closed the door, sat down and leaned back in his chair, the memory of his wife shying away from him replaying in his mind. He picked up his office phone and dialed the number that led to their apartment in Upper Manhattan.
“Hello?”
“Honey. Sam, it’s me. Remember that rule we made? The one we made on our wedding day?”
“John, I have a hundred things to do. I thought you said we would talk about it when you got home tonight…”
“I’ll be quick. But…do you remember?” there was a pause on the other line.
“Yes. We promised each other that no matter what we would be arguing about, we would never go to bed angry.”
“I don’t want to break that in this lifetime. We’ll figure this out together, I promise.”
“Ok.”
“I promise we will work it out if it’s the last thing I do.”
“Ok.”
“I love you.” another pause. Then an ear-shattering blast.
“What is tha-…Oh my God. Samantha, I have to go.”


8:46 am
Samantha
“Wait! John!” she listened for a few seconds. He had hung up. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion, she put the phone down and walked back to Mason’s crib. He had finally fallen asleep. The little tyke cried himself so hard he fell asleep, she smiled to herself. Stubborn and headstrong, just like his father.
The phone rang again. She ran to it.
“John?” she asked.
“No, it’s Cheryl. Have you talked to John? Did he call you yet?” her sister-in-law asked frantically. Confused, wondering how Cheryl could have possibly known about her brief and unusual conversation with Jonathan from barely a minute ago, she stuttered back,
“W-what? Cheryl, what are you talking about?”
“TURN ON THE NEWS!” she turned on the TV and the first thing she saw was live footage of a plume of black smoke rising from the North building of the Twin Towers.
“Oh my God,” she stared in awe.
“This just in; you are looking at a very disturbing live shot there, that is the World Trade Center and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has just crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center here in New York. We are just beginning to work on this story, checking our sources, trying to figure out exactly what happened, but clearly, something relatively devastating has happened on the south end of the island of Manhattan. How did this happen? We are all in shock.” She changed the channel.
“We are communicating with our sources trying to confirm that it has indeed been a plane that has just flown into the World Trade Center. We are speculating that a massive evacuation is underway and fire rescue teams are on their way to the scene. This is unbelievable…was this a terrible accident? How did this happen?” The detectable shock and confusion in the news reporters’ voices was mirrored in the horror written on her face. Every channel she changed to was live footage of one of the tallest buildings in the world burning up in flames, engulfed in massive clouds of smoke. The North building of the grand World Trade Center, 110 stories high, was consumed in black flames before her eyes.
“I need to call John.” she spoke mindlessly into the phone.
“Yes,” and they hung up. John is in the South building. He can’t be hurt, was all she could think to herself. She dialed John’s cell phone number. No answer.
“Damn it John,” she spoke to herself, “answer the phone.” She called his work phone. No answer.






8:46 am
Jonathan
He heard panicked and confused voices fill the floor after the piercing boom. He turned to look out his window and saw the most horrifying scene he could possibly imagine. The upper half of twin tower that stood less than 90 feet away from where he was standing was being devoured by gargantuan columns of ashy, black smoke. The head of security for the company, Rick Rescorla, began to speak on the P.A.
“Alright everybody, just like we did in the evacuation drills: remain calm and make your way to the staircases. I’m aware that we are on the 65th floor but this attack is too close and we need to start moving now. I repeat, begin evacuation and make your way to the stairs.”
“Attack? This is an attack? How do we know it’s not an accident?”
“What if it’s more dangerous outside? Debris might fall on us!”
“What is going on? What just happened to the Twin?”
“It was a plane! I saw a plane fly right into her!” Various overlapping panicked voices filled the floor. The office was chaotic. People began making their way towards the emergency stairs but Jonathan couldn’t help but keep looking back through the window at the horrific sight before him. I need to call Sam, he thought to himself. He dialed the home number. No service.
Almost everyone began evacuating. Some companies on the lower floors explained that they had been cleared for safety and continued to work, despite the whole commotion. Many ignored their orders to stay and were the first to make it to the lobby. With so many people traveling down such narrow staircases, progress was slow. They reached the 60th floor. Then the 55th. Then the 50th. Then the 40th. And still, there was no way to call Sam.
9:02 am
Samantha
It had been 17 minutes since she had spoken to John and since the plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade center and all she could do now was pace in front of the TV, waiting for more news, and waiting for John to call back.
“It appears that there is more and more fire and smoke enveloping the top of the building and as fire crews are descending on this area, it does not appear that there has been any kind of effort up there yet…Oh my God. That...that looks like a second plane! This is the other tower, ladies and gentlemen. Another impact at Tower Number Two of the World Trade Center has just happened live, on air. This looks like it is some kind of a concerted effort to attack the World Trade Center that is underway in downtown New York.”
“No.” she stared in disbelief. She changed the channel.
“There was another one! We just saw…we just saw another one! Another plane just flew into the second tower. This raises….this…this has to be deliberate, folks. We just saw, on live television, a second plane fly into the second tower of the World Trade Center.”
She felt her heart drop. It felt unreal. It felt like a nightmare. But only it wasn’t a nightmare, it was real. She forgot everything else that had happened that morning. Nothing else mattered. The only thing she could think of now was that Jonathan was still in that second tower.


9:03 am
Jonathan
They were making their way to the 30th floor when they felt a massive force shake the building. They felt a rush of heat from above them and then screams broke out. People ran for their lives. John ran like he had never run before, not sparing a moment to glance behind him. He rushed by a blur of tears, screams, and prayers..
He made it to the 25th floor. Then the 20th. Then the 15th. He could barely breathe. Oxygen was burning up from the explosion upstairs and the staircase gradually became foggier with smoke. He stopped for a second to wipe the sweat off his forehead. Then his phone rang.

“Sam.” He answered.










9:50am
Samantha
“Oh thank God you answered. John, are you okay? Where are you? Are you still in the building?” she asked frantically.
“I’m still in the building,” he breathed heavily.
“Oh John, I’m so sorry,” she began. She began to regret every moment she didn’t embrace her husband. She regretted arguing with him that morning. She regretted not letting him kiss her goodbye.
“No Sam, don’t. Don’t apologize. I’m making my way down the stairs. I’m on the 14th floor now. I don’t know if I can make it.” She began to cry at these words. These words pierced her.
“John, don’t say that. Just run. Run as fast as you can.”
“Sam, listen to me. I want to live my life with no regrets and I want you to do the same. Whether I will see you and Mason later tonight, I don’t know, but I promised you that we would work out whatever it was even if it was the last thing I did, and it just might be.”
“John,” she began to weep harder.
“I love you Samantha Creed. If I don’t see you and Mason tonight, just know that I will always love you two.”
“I love you too Jonathan. I love you more than you know,”
“I love you with all my heart and wherever you are, just know that I will always be there right next to you.”
“Even now?” she asked.
“Even now.” At his words, she put her hand to her wedding ring, hung on a small silver chain around her neck. She looked back at the TV screen and her worst fears had come true. She saw the South Tower, the one John was in, collapse. The line went dead.
“Oh my goodness. What a devastating image. Ladies and gentlemen, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing right before our eyes. Oh my…Oh my God.” There was a momentary silence.

“The Southern Tower of the Word Trade Center, which had burned for 53 minutes, has just collapsed in eleven seconds.”





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