10 years ago, on 9/11, I’m living in New York City.
I’m still an actress, but making ends meet at a Temp Agency in the Empire State Building. On September 11th, 2001, Abe goes out on his very first job through my company. I’m not working that day, so I call him from our apartment in Astoria, Queens – bright and early to make sure he’ll fill out the employment card correctly.
“The World Trade Center’s on fire,” he says, upon answering his phone.
“There’s smoke coming from the World Trade Center. I can see it from the window here.”
Then I look at the TV. But there is nothing on yet. I figure it must not be serious, and continue giving instructions about signing in, getting his supervisor’s signature, etc. As we are talking, the breaking news flashes across the screen. I relay the information to Abe, who is immediately concerned.
“I’m coming home,” he responds.
“You can’t! You’re on a job! You just got there!”
“I don’t care, I’m getting out of here.”
Thank God for Abe’s insistence. As the day goes on, it becomes clear how serious the situation is, and he literally runs home to me, catching a carpool with one of the last cabs to cross the Queensboro Bridge as the second tower collapses.
We stand on our roof watching the smoke until we can’t see it anymore.
The days and weeks that follow are a daze. We walk all over the city, including Ground Zero with Abe’s parents, who volunteer their therapy services. We have long conversations with people we never speak to before. I spend a lot of time with my family in NJ. I take time off from acting and the temp job. When the latter resumes, we deal with constant evacuations and bomb threats, on an almost daily basis. Since I’m working at The Empire State Building, I learn to accept it.
I never feel afraid but am paralyzed for a while, and wonder when we will be able to move on.
Now it’s a decade later and I realize we have.