So This Was Real This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Two years ago, my brother waited for me outside Spanish class. Asked if I knew what had happened, my heart sank. It must have been something about his voice or his face. He told me that the World Trade Center had been attacked and that my father had called from somewhere in the city. Thank God he got out was, of course, my initial reaction. From way up somewhere in the North Tower he had found his way down the stairs, leaving behind so many who crowded into the security room to watch the news of what was unfolding next door. Soon everyone would realize this was nothing like the attack in 1993. I know it was selfish, but at the time, all I could think was how lucky my dad was, and how happy I was that he was okay.

At home, my mom was in tears, and I could not shake the fear that she had only imagined speaking to my father. I was only calm when he arrived home later that night. My attention turned to the unbelievable number who had been killed, and I had to wonder how I would feel if I not heard from my dad.

I had to think about it, scary as it was. So scary, in fact, that it didn't seem logical that I could be awake. It was like one of those dreams where toward the end, you realize you're dreaming and that all this madness couldn't possibly happen in real life. And then you wake up ... but no one disallowed anything on September 11.

There was no waking up, except to an even harsher reality that made itself crystal clear September 12 - thousands had died. A few weeks later, it began to sink in, and I was able to think, So this was real. Personal as it was for me, it was still so distant; it took place on some movie theater screen, or in a video game.

I can't remember just how many people called to ask about my father that day, but it had to be 100. Knowing they cared so much meant a lot. And two years later, I can still look back on the phone calls and know the concern we all have for each other. I never doubt this now. Everyone was mourning someone they knew in the towers.

We were all affected, yet I could not help but wonder if people truly meant all they said about our country. I wondered if it was other people they were trying to convince when they spoke to them of patriotism, or, perhaps, themselves?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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