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No Longer Invisible
No Longer Invisible
I am technically not invisible myself; I am transparent. There’s always someone staring right through me, and I get used to it. But when I have 40,000 clones tightly lined and stacked vertically and horizontally of 1,630 foot building, there’s not much solo attention. Still, my view is pretty spectacular. I mean, it’s New York! Who doesn’t want to stare all day at the endless busybodies and yellow cabs rushing up and down jam-packed streets? And then there’s the nighttime view and—like I said, I don’t mind my life at all.
That is, until September 11, 2001. That day, I lost my home.
The morning was gorgeous. Clear blue sky, sun shining, and clean, crisp air (well, as clean as New York can get) was a lovely start to that day. I said hello to my buddies to my left, right, up, below, and horizontals before welcoming my pal who claimed my view. The door unlocked from the outside and in he came, flashing the lights on. His office was neat, not a single paper hanging out or shred littering the carpet. There was a quick glance right at me— right through me—probably taking in the same thought I was: what a beautiful day. He then took his revolving seat and got busy, like any New Yorker, I suppose. Anyway, I got back to my sightseeing.
All of the sudden, something wasn’t so perfect about how clear the sky was; a mass object was hanging in the distance, the whiteness of it standing out against the blue canvass. It was gliding closer and closer. Then I thought, is it a bird? A Plane? No wait, it’s—!
Yeah, it was definitely a plane. But why so low? I’ve never met the thick, high altitude cousins of mine, but something was telling me that I shouldn’t be meeting them so soon like this. Now the misplaced object was in view: a commercial aircraft. I definitely knew something was wrong just by the fact that I have never ever seen one with my own reflection.
I saw it one second, the next I lost it, then it felt like whole world shake as a blast pierced the air. My narrow view was obscured. Below, people were scattering all over the place, pointing up to me, their mouths gaping open as if to shout but only making incoherent sounds. Hands were pressed up against me as the business man leaned as far as he could, practically scraping his nose on me to see the towering inferno just adjacent to where he worked. “Oh my God,” he gasped. From the hall behind me, people had felt the huge quake too. Then someone screamed, “A plane crashed into North! A plane!” My body’s twin was hit?
I hadn’t even realized that just moment later, the phone was ringing. I don’t know if it was adrenaline, terror, or pure shock, but he didn’t rush to answer until the third attempt.
“…Yeah I’m okay…the building shook…I can see it from the window. I’m alright, I’m alright…No, and I’m going to stay. They said go back to work. I have at least $200 million in trades…” he spoke into the receiver rather calmly. With a final reassurance, he hung up.
Then it was our turn.
It was as though God had taken his hand and punched from behind. The building shook with such an enormous tremor that the man was thrown off his feet. I swear the entire structure had budged at least a foot. I myself felt the shift and vibration around the hinges. I thought I would shatter. Screams and more screams filled the halls. But I couldn’t focus.
I stared outside again, still dazed by the sky that was once so clear, so blue, so peaceful. Smoke billowed outward from the impact zones, stretching farther and wider with each passing moment until all I could see was black. Fire roared above. Anyone from miles would be able to see this. No doubt it was already being recorded on the news. Two planes, both deliberately crashing into the World Trade Center. We were under attack. This was real.
Chaos. When something goes according to plan, the planners leave it be. But everyone else loses their minds. It is the introductory to anarchy. The ripple effect. Why do I bring this up? because the ripple effect is what kills me.
I was not terrified. Nor were my 39,999 other buddies. We can’t feel that way. But we can break. And I don’t think any sound could pierce through me like the sound of my neighbors cracking, shattering into a billion pieces, them plummeting hundreds of feet down, down, down...
One after another the fell. And not just debris. Not just my clones. It was as though these beings had died before even coming in contact with solid, cold, unforgiveable pavement. This was no longer “how can I survive?”; it became “how do I want to die?”
Was I going to die? Yes. Because I can’t do anything. I am invisible. People can live. They can die. They do something about it is my point. I don’t have an option. I had said goodbye to the New York skies as the metal, glass, and tons of building came crashing down on top of me.
Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.
I indeed I said goodbye to the New York I knew. To my friends. To my place hundreds of feet above the streets.
Today, below feet of concrete and a huge new building is an eerie place that I now reside in, retired, and no longer the difference between inside and out. No one looks through me anymore. Instead, thousands of people every day stop and look at me. They think, why you?
It doesn’t matter though. I have no friends down here. We’re underground, after all. I am the only one left, intact, solitary. A lone survivor. 1 of 40,000.
I am a 6x2 single window panel designed to be placed hundreds of feet in the air. But there is no view for me now.
Just my tomb.