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 bells 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 Harvard 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 Morgan Stanley instead of consulting in Boston. I told him it was the greatest city in the world.

I always made fun of Boston.

I went to his new office once, in tower 2, and I could see my apartment building 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 that window 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 options 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.

The phones 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 emergency vehicles 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 worshipped 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 for the first time in my life.

At midnight 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 bridge, got his car, and started driving, driving away from his office 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, finding 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 packaged world.

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.

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