The Call

I wasn't expecting a phone call. So when my phone rang that morning, I was not happy to say the least. It had been a long night and I had just settled into a good sleep. I rolled over and looked at my room mate and hoped that she would pick up the phone. The phone continued to ring. I had almost decided to ignore the persistent tone in the ring, but something told me I had better answer this call. After a barely audible hello, a distant voice came over the line, "Turn on the news . . ."

Rather than question who it was, or why they had called me so early, I hung up the phone and turned my television on to Channel 5 and stared in disbelief. Both of the Twin Towers were ablaze. I threw a pillow at my room mate, and yelled at her to wake up. She rolled over to yell back at me, but the words never had a chance to leave her mouth as she caught sight of the television. We didn't understand what was going on, but our disbelief turned to horror as we watched the first tower start to crumble. The yelling and screaming of the news reporter scraped through my head like nails against a chalkboard. Surely this was some type of joke. Some Orson Wells imitator had taken it too far. But as I began to realize that our country had just suffered a horrible loss, the other tower began that slow collapse to earth. My country had just been raped of two of it's symbols of freedom.

And as my brain began to struggle with itself to accept this atrocious truth, I sat back and thought of all the people who had been on their way to work in the Towers that morning, the people who overslept or missed their train, the people who had just had a sneaky little feeling and had just stayed home. How are they dealing with this?

If I could meet with just one person who by some chance did not make it to work that morning in the Towers, I would ask them one simple question: "Why are you alive today?" Was it just by chance that the alarm clock set back an hour for no reason, or was the extra cup of coffee just that enticing . . .? Or is it possible that there may have been a higher reason that they are alive today. I would just want to know what their belief was on the matter. Did they have any clue as to why they were saved and the others who perished in the attacks were not? What was so different or special about them?

As much as I would love to ask any one of the survivors these questions, I would never do it. These are questions that I am sure that they have asked themselves everyday since the attacks. And to this day, I'm sure that most still do not have an answer.