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The Day My World Crashed Down
It started out like any other, sunny day. The sky was bright, the sun warm, the breeze cool.
I get up and get ready for another boring day at school. My mom was in the kitchen fixing today’s breakfast. Dad had left for work a couple hours ago.
Let me just take a minute to tell you about my dad. He’s not like a lot of other dads. He’s the kind of dad who won’t miss the slightest event in his baby girl’s life, not even something as trivial as a home softball game. He won’t doze off during on of my school plays. And he’s not even embarrassing. He works for the New York Police Department. We had lived most of my life in Cleveland, Ohio until my mom got a promotion and was sent to New York City. My dad loves my mom; he’d follow her anywhere.
So we moved from an amazing, beautiful house in a great neighborhood with incredible schools and parks to this crappy house in a disgusting neighborhood with disgraceful schools and torn up parks. But, like my dad, I’d do anything for my family. My dad was pretty excited to be accepted into the NYPD. I was happy for him, but I also know how dangerous New York City was.
My mom was frying some eggs when I walked over to her and took the spatula away from her.
“Mom, how many times do I have to tell you to let me cook?”
She sighed and resigned to a kitchen chair, sitting down slowly, her stomach looked like someone had stuffed a big ball under her shirt. You could only tell she was pregnant, though, when you looked at her from the side. She was due in November with a little boy. Dad threw a party when he found out. He’d been wanting a boy to play catch with, take to football games, and to do all those things that dads do with their sons.
“You really don’t have to do that,” mom said, clearly thankful I had taken over. She sipped her orange juice and read the paper while I flipped the eggs and toasted the bread.
I sat down just as the phone rang. I got back up to answer it.
“You would not believe what just happened!”
And, before I knew it, she was diving head first into a story of how another guy had asked her out.
I hung up at 7:35, just enough time to brush my teeth and jump in the car to drive myself to school if I hurried. I shouted a goodbye to my mother and hit the road.
I was sitting in the middle of my Trig class when the intercom came on and announced that something had happened to the Twin Towers.
Mrs. Blackwell turned the TV on to NBC and we were greeted with a burning building with smoke billowing out. Along the bottom it read “Police officers and firemen stuck beneath rubble.” My heart sank. For a minute, I sat there frozen, unable to move.
Then, quite suddenly, I found myself running through the halls to the parking lot to my car and speeding to my house.
I found her laying on her side on the couch, watching the same thing I had. She looked like she was in shock, but when she hard me, her face found mine and crumpled in despair as she tried to sit up.
“Have you heard anything?”
“No,” she sobbed.
I sat down next to her and wrapped my arm around her, handing her a tissue from the table in front of us.
The TV showed the same thing over and over again, burning the images into our minds, causing us to have nightmares whenever we did finally cave in to sleep.
I tried to distract her from the news, but failed. Her parents called, so did Dad’s and she had to tell them she knew nothing.
A few hours later, a policeman from Brooklyn came to our door to confirm what we already knew- Dad was in there, trapped under one of the buildings.
The rescue teams searched for the next couple of weeks, but gave up then, assuming anyone still under there wouldn’t have made it, wouldn’t still be alive.
We had a wake so that everyone who knew him could pay their respects, and made a memorial space in Cleveland’s graveyard.
My mother had a healthy baby boy in November and named him Jacob, after my father. I think about him often, my father; praying that he has peace.
But after that day, neither my mother or myself were the same.