7 years ago today. A Tuesday.
I was 36 weeks pregnant. Lumbering and uncomfortable as I boarded the 7:22 a.m. commuter rail bound for my job at a law firm in Boston. Arrived at work after 8.
Was chatting on the phone with a friend, discussing our baby showers that had both taken place that weekend. Mine on Saturday, hers on Sunday (our poor collective friends!) while our hubbies frollicked in New York City at a Yanks/Sox game. One of my friends from Florida had flown up for my shower. She flew out of Logan Airport in Boston on Monday morning.
I was interrupted from my conversation when a co-worker peeked her head in and said, "Your husband is on my line. Apparently, he needs to talk to you." So I said goodbye to my friend (who was home, but didn't have her TV on) and got on the line with Hubby.
"Do you have your computer on?" he asked breathlessly.
"No. I just got here and was on the phone with Mary. Why? What's up?"
"A plane crashed into the World Trade Center! They don't know many details yet though. TURN ON YOUR COMPUTER!"
Slowly the buzz began to spread on my 21st floor. We were directed into a conference room to watch the breaking news on a projection screen.
That was when I saw the second plane hit.
Shortly after, a firm-wide e-mail was delivered. Our building would be closing at 10 a.m. We were all to evacuate immediately.
I called Hubby back. (Meanwhile he had been frantically trying to call me. The firm's phone lines were being inundated.) Hubby was nervous that they were going to shut down all public transportation. That I wouldn't be able to get out of the city of Boston. 9 months pregnant.
My friend Michelle (who was also working in Boston at the time) and I miraculously got through to each other via our cell phones. We met downtown, so we could walk to the train station together.
It was eerie. Practically everyone in downtown Boston had been evacuated. The city streets were packed, yet it was oddly hushed. Everyone was rushing, furiously punching buttons on their cell phones, desperately trying to get a signal.
I tried to call Hubby from the train station to let him know what my meager train options were to get back home to Central Massachusetts. There was only one train headed towards home, yet it would only take me as far as Framingham, about a 45 minute drive, and not where I had parked my car that morning. But I couldn't get in touch with him. The lines were jammed.
So I waited until the last possible minute to board that train, worried that Hubby might already be driving into Boston to collect me; nervous that he wasn't, and that I indeed NEEDED to get on the train.
Finally, as the announcement was blaring, "Final boarding call!", Hubby and I connected. I SHOULD take the train, and he'd pick me up in Framingham.
As you can imagine, the train was packed. Every seat full, every aisle space occupied. But so silent. Someone kindly felt sorry for my swollen whale-ness and gave me a seat. I let a few strangers borrow my cell phone.
Everyone lost in their own thoughts. Fear, stifled but present. Uncertainty.
I spent the next three days on the couch in my "uniform" (you know, the only XL maternity clothes that fit), glued to the TV. Alternating between grief, disbelief and horror.
What kind of world was I bringing a child into?
September 11, 2001. I will never forget.
[Re-posted from 9/11/07.]