{ missing pieces }

No Stories to Tell

I don't have a story.

Tuesday morning, minutes before 9am, I was watching Good Morning America and trying to sort out the details of my day when the TV announced the breaking news. We both stared at the screen as the anchors struggled to explain the large whole on the side of World Trade Center.

Within one minute, my aunt in Canada and my father in Turkey both called to find out our location. As I ensured them that we were both safely at home, I thought it might be a good idea to post to MetaFilter in case other people happened to be watching the news and got worried. I also grabbed the phone to inform my volunteer job that I might be a little late.

That's when the second plane hit. We thought the channel was showing a mockup of what might have happened a few minutes ago. We couldn't grasp what was going on. They were still talking about a propeller plane, and two planes couldn't have made the same mistake, could they? As we stared with disbelief, the phone lines went dead and I thanked God that we'd already told our family of our whereabouts.

I started sending emails to everyone I knew. My work is half a mile south of the World Trade Centers and I couldn't reach anyone. I mailed the London office. My sister and mother sent me email, trying to see if everyone was accounted for. The phone lines kept going down, friends called to find out if we were okay, to say that they were alive, to see if we'd heard from the others. A friend who works two blocks away from my work emailed me saying he was okay but that he'd seen people jumping out of the building and that he was shaken up. All we saw out of our window was black smoke in the horizon.

We were only three miles north, yet it felt completely surreal. As if the images on TV were movie sets and not shots of our work neighborhood. I finally reached one of my coworkers and she said that they were being held in the office because it was too dangerous to go outside. They were fine. Everyone they knew was fine. My boyfriend's friend who worked in the North Tower called from SoHo saying he had escaped. He was alive but unable to go back home to New Jersey. Could he crash at our place?

It's now been over forty-eight hours. Every one of my friends is accounted for. Yesterday, I turned twenty-seven. After watching CNN, we met two of our friends for a birthday dinner four blocks from our house. As we left the restaurant, they were evacuating our neighborhood. A bomb threat in the Empire State Building, they said. We walked home, unsure of where else to go. Unsure of everything.

I'm told to keep checking my voice mail every few hours to find out if I'm expected at work. So far, I'm at home, but eventually they will ask us to go back. I will have to go down to Wall Street. I will have to walk through the rubble and look up at the holes in the sky. I have no idea what I will feel then.

But I know how I feel today. Since 9am, Tuesday morning, I've been at home, on my couch, hugging my boyfriend. My friends are alive and my loved ones are safe.

Today, I am extremely thankful that I have no stories to tell.

Karen Grünberg

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