I got up at 8:00 in the morning, and the night before on Monday
the most I had to worry about was expensing a $140 dinner.
On Tuesday Morning
I turned on the TV at 8:50, and noticed
the top of the trade center burning
, and I thought it was an
accident, some horrible accident
. I stepped outside my building on
Greenwich Street and saw it burning, the top of it burning, but
intact. As I walked down 4th street to get to the Stern School
for class, I kept on watching.
All of the cars and cabs were stopped in the middle of the road,
the radios on, everybody standing and watching. The church
were all ringing.
I went to the roof of the Stern School and I saw them burn and
burn. In the tiny people that I saw jumping out from 50 floors
up I saw my friends, and my family. I saw faces, and lives. I saw a building fall which, on my 5AM winter
runs in the dark I had used as a beacon
, like 2 great blocks of light and heat
. I had once taken comfort, on nights alone with a headache
and working, that my friends and family were also working there in that building that I could see from 2 miles away. I'd imagine
them, and pretend I could see their individual windows
among the thousands of lights
on in that building
, and be comforted.
A few months ago I had convinced my friend from boarding school
,which we attended together many years ago,
to come to the city. Back then, we rowed
together. We lived
and cried and copied each others homework and snuck off campus
to drink in the woods
together and lied to each others parents.
He had just graduated from
with a shiny new BS in Economics
and a minor in math
and I convinced
him to come to to New York
to work at
instead of consulting in Boston. I told him
it was the greatest city in the world
I always made fun of
I went to his new office
once, in tower 2, and I could see
from there, so whenever I would call him there I would look at
the place where his window must have been. I was looking at
when it started to fall.
My cousin had graduated 5 years ago from my school, the
Stern School of Business
, and he was a veteran trader on an
desk on the 100th floor. I asked him to give me a job
there, earlier last spring
, and he told me that I could have it
if I wanted but he didn't think I'd be happy there. He was quite wise in the ways of Wall Street
and life in general, my mentor, so I did as he advised
I counted 80 floors up, on Tuesday from the roof of Stern and I saw a burning hole
and stopped counting.
I went to my office and turned on CNN
, I watched it over and
over, and I saw more things get hit, I saw 5,000 people die
in four seconds, right outside my window. I heard of the plane
crash south of Pittsburgh
, and I thought of my father, who works
at the DoD
nuclear hq there, where he does something top
secret with weapons
development, I thought he was dead.
were all out, and I couldn't reach anybody.
On the island of Manhattan
, I always figured I had 3 people I could
turn to in any situation, no matter what. In 4 seconds, I saw them,
I saw 2/3 of them die.
I couldn't reach anybody, all the phones were busy, circuits full
I emailed my sister
to let her know I was all right, found out
my dad was safe in a bunker
and his facilities undamaged.
I set out around the city
, I went on the streets to the hospitals
and to the makeshift morgues
set up around the city, dodging
going the wrong way on the wrong streets, I was looking
for my friend
, for my cousin, Have you seen my friend, he was tall and
so smart and cocky who actually wears his Harvard alumni tie, have you
seen my cousin, who was tired of trading, tired of options and wanted his P
hD before he got too old?
Having grown up so far away from home, these people were my family
I went home with no news, nothing to tell to my friends parents
or to my aunt or to anybody, nobody being able to reach the overworked
hospitals, nobody else being able to get into Manhattan
to search for them.
Called my boyfriend, who was always there, who absolutely always
the ground I walked on, I told him to come down and get me,
because I haven't talked to anybody, face to face
, all day, and my friends were all dead
. He wouldn't, he said, because
always the engineer, he didn't see how he could help in person when we could
just talk on the phone, plus it would take forever
to get here. So I dumped him, I dumped
him right there
because he didn't see, and he didn't understand. I dumped him
because he was the last person I knew in Manhattan
who was alive
I dumped him because I needed to see him and everybody else was dead
I checked in with my parents
, I checked in with everybody one last
time and no news. I went to lie in bed, feeling Manhattan as an island
the first time
in my life.
I got a phone call from my friend at Morgan that
as soon as he heard the explosion
in the other tower, started to
leave the building, despite being advised not to. He told me that he
took one look at the burning building, and started running, across the
, got his car, and started driving, driving away from his
in the trade center and his apartment on Church St.
His cell didn't
work and he ended up at his father's deserted, sheet-covered
summer house in the Hamptons
on Long Island
. Some of his coworkers didn't leave.
I heard from my aunt that my cousin
, providentially arriving at work late
it on fire
, upon leaving was struck by a piece of debris and must have been taken to the hospital
by a kind stranger. He then took the ferry to New Jersey
to my aunt's
house in Fort Lee
. Most, if not all, of his coworkers are dead.
I am still missing various acquaintances and schoolmates
. I hope
they are only missing, for the moment. That day, I saw those 4 seconds rob me of my security, yanked me out of my little Louis Vuitton
We were invincible
-- we were the smart
, the young
, Wall Street cocky-ass hotshots. We'd work crazy hours
and take crazy
positions on the capital markets
, go drinking
after and wake up the next morning at 5:30 with the options properly hedged. We were invincible
, and I just saw them all die, everything dead, all in 4 seconds from the roof of Stern