This post is not about politics. It’s not about conspiracy theories. It’s about what I was going through, 5 years ago on this day, at this time.
September 11th 2001 began as any other workday had for me. I woke up, went to the primary school I teach at, taught my classes… It was the beginning of the school year and early on that particular evening, there were going to be the first parent-teacher meetings. After my last class had ended, I had a couple of hours to kill before the meetings. Three coworkers and I decided to go get a coffee and snack at a nearby café to pass the time. It was 3:20pm when one of my colleague’s mobiles rang. It was her daughter, freaking out: “I don’t believe it! America is under attack!”. My first reaction was to look at my co-worker and say “Umm… your daughter has obviously been smoking some strong shit again… She’s probably watching some freaky movie…”
Well, I decided to give my mother a call; I assumed she’d know what was going on since Montreal isn’t that far away from NYC. My mother confirmed the story we had heard and I was suddenly overcome with horror! Julie! Oh my God! Julie! She only lives a few blocks away from the WTC! She works there!
Julie was my classmate and best friend all through high-school. We stuck by each other through everything and anything, shared many fun times, many tears.
After university, I moved to Europe. Julie moved to NYC to attend law school. She had been working as a corporate lawyer for less than a year; it had been her first job. I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Julie’s parents still live in Montreal. I immediately told my mom to call her mom to see if everything was ok.
It was time for the meetings. I didn’t know whether my friend was alive or dead and I was shaking.
I was like a zombie during the entire meeting. I can’t remember a damn thing I said to those parents. I don’t even remember which road I took to get home. I remember going into my room, turning on the TV and staring at the images on the screen as tears streamed down my cheeks. Until came the call of relief…
My mother called me back. She had spoken to Julie’s mom. Julie had called her parents to let them know she was still alive. It turns out she had pressed the snooze button a couple of extra times and was running late. So rather than already being at work, she was just leaving her apartment when the first plane hit, and that was what saved her.
She would have to evacuate her apartment, she was covered in soot and was having trouble breathing, but she was still alive!
I am and always will be thankful that Julie was spared.
To all of those who have suffered because of what happened on that day, my thoughts are with you.