The Day My Grandma Cried

April 2, 2011
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My Grandma is strong. Whenever I look at her she is doing something for somebody to the best of her ability, whether its feeding the family, playing with the grandchildren, sewing something up or grabbing the broom and whipping the filth out of her house after one of the many parties she holds. She has always put on a brave face in any situation and come out stronger and faster than anyone else involved. I admired her for that. But I will never forget the day that my strong grandma cried. The day started like all the others, slowly, happily and calmly. My grandpa was making his famous bread in the kitchen while grandma bustled around the table dishing out steaming hot eggs and warm Jersey bagels topped with cream cheese and butter. The kitchen table was heaped with every breakfast food imaginable with a couple desserts from the previous night thrown in. Sprawled in chairs all around the feast was my family, aunts and uncles, cousins and sisters, some slowly waking up to the smell of coffee and others diving into the food. It was another normal day at my grandparents. That day my aunt who normally took the 45 min train ride into New York City for work, called in sick and curled herself on the couch in front of the TV. Every thing was peaceful and lazy, nothing out of the ordinary. I continued through my day playing and eating, eating and playing. Then everything changed. Everything. My aunt screamed from in the parlor sending all of us running from our respective places. Grandpa bolted from the stove, Uncles from the basement and Grandma from her room all of us meeting in a large crowd behind my aunt our eyes glued to the TV. There was the most horrifying scene I ever thought possible. There was one of the tall beacons of the NY skyline up in smoke. Before I could say anything, my wrist was grabbed by my dad as he ran towards our car. Everything was a blur. I remember looking in the back seat and seeing my brother fumbling with his seat belt as dad pelted out of the drive way and down the road. With in seconds we were trudging through the sand half tripping half running towards the beach. Then I saw it. The building that I had grown up watching flicker its lights across the bay was on fire, the smoke it caused reaching up into the sky like a dark cloud. I could smell the smoke as the wind shifted it over the water and I felt my eyes smart as the gray vapor made its way over to me. Then with out warning a speck the size of a Lima bean came into view and to my horror headed straight towards the second building. I could tell by its shape what it was, and I could also tell by the effect it had on the building that it did not miss it. The second building erupted into fire and smoke sending more smells and sounds across the bay. I watched as little objects fell down the side of the building. They weren't on fire, and they were not gray like stone or any other material you would expect coming from a burning building. I looked at them and then at Dad. "What are those?" I asked, realizing from his face that I didn't want to know the answer.
" Those are people," he said grimly, "trying to escape."
Right then and there the horror hit me full force. Not two days earlier I had taken a shopping trip with my aunt to New York City, running through all the major shopping malls and finally taking a tour through the tallest buildings in Manhattan known as the Twin Towers. Now I stood watching them fall, surprisingly fast I found out later, but at the time so glacially slow and dreadfully long. My body felt numb as I turned and stumbled back to the car. When we got home all was quiet as every one was either crying or spending time alone behind closed doors the shock of what had happened shattering the happy life we were living not 2 hours before. I went into the kitchen and saw no one but Grandma, her old apron held in fist fulls by her aging hands. Walking over I slipped my arms around her to give her a hug and looked into her eyes where I saw the first tear I had ever seen sloshing over the rim. I had seen my grandma cry, I had watched the Twin Towers fall, and I had witnessed one of the saddest days in our hometown and all of our great nation. I will never forget that day, seared into my memory like the hot metal that fell from the buildings... the day my grandma cried.

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