Don't forget to take a breath and slow down. Tell the people around you how much you love them and appreciate them. Treat every day like it's your last because it just might be.
Derek Wilson gave his wife a quick kiss before he made his way to work. He checked his watch to make sure he was still on his schedule. Then he hopped in his car and drove away quickly.
When he got into his office on the 100th floor, he checked his watch. 7:59. He was early, as always. His meeting didn't start until 8:30.
He booted up his computer. Growing more irritable with each second that his computer wasted by not turning on, he decided to go get some coffee.
He walked out to the coffee machine to find a bunch of his coworkers hanging out and laughing.
"Hey guys." He approached them.
"Happy anniversary." They called. They stepped aside to reveal a cake. Tonight was his 10th anniversary with his wife. He felt his cheeks turn bright red.
"Guys you didn't have to do that." He informed them. "Thank you anyway."
He quickly grabbed his coffee and the cake. Then he retreated to his office.
Happily finding that his computer was on, he emailed his son and wished him good a good day at school. He hovered over his wife's icon, but decided not to. He was going to ignore her until they were together after he got home from work. That way, she would be even happier with his present.
He then walked into the conference room and settled in to listen to the pitch. He couldn't help but feel that something bad was about to happen. 8:25.
After everyone came and settled in they started the presentation. He looked around and could tell that other people felt his unease. It was like a dark cloud had settled over the whole building. Little did they know, it was the black cloud of death.
Then all hell broke loose. A loud noise could be heard, as if a plane was flying really close. Then the building started to shake.
Everyone fell out of their chairs and landed on the ground. Derek looked out the window and saw smoke.
He stood up and yelled, "Okay! Everyone out!" As loud as he could.
Everyone ran towards the stairs. They started to go down, but the smoke got so thick that they all turned around and started going up. They all climbed fast as they tried to beat the smoke.
He pulled out his cell phone and dialed home. Pick up. Pick up. Pick up.
"Hello." A female voice anwsered.
"Honey, I love you." Derek choked out. He could feel hot, wet tears sliding down his face. "Happy anniversary."
"Derek, sweetie, what's the matter?" She asked.
"I don't know. But the building's on fire and we can't get to the ground floor." He confessed.
He felt antsy. He was trying to think of what he had done to deserve. Then only thing that came anywhere close was that he ate the last piece of the chocolate cake. Is this really the punishment he deserved?
Derek heard the TV turn on. "The sky is burning." He heard through the phone.
"Oh! A-a plane hit the building." She sobbed. "The building's on fire."
Derek finally reached the top of the building. The wind felt like it was angry. He wanted to stop and give up, but he pressed on. He also resisted the urge to give up and cry. "Why us?" He wanted to scream at the sky.
Who is doing this? Why today? Why now? Questions bounced around Derek's mind. It was a very small voice asking though since he was focused on trying to survive.
"I love you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you that this morning before I left. Tell Mike I love him too." Derek whispered. "I'll always be with you, looking out for you."
"What are you going to do?" She choked out.
He ignored her question. "Don't cry for me. I'm going to a better place." He tried to convince himself as well. "Don't dwell in the past and on the what if's." Then he hung up.
He dialed again. Don't pick up. Don't pick up. Don't pick up.
He was happy when the answering machine picked up.
"Honey, even though I'm no longer here for you, that doesn't mean I'm not watching out for you. Mike, I love you too. I know you will be a great man and care for your mother." He managed to sound like he wasn't crying or about to die.
After he hung up, he looked around. He couldn't believe this was happening. Everyone from his floor and more was on the roof. Everyone was also on their cell phone, calling home. Everyone looked panicked and most were crying.
He looked around for options. The roof being the only escape, he walked over. The smoke was really bad now. He couldn't stop coughing.
He pulled out the ring and key chain he got for his wife. He was planning on giving it to her today.
On the ring it read, "You are my soul mate, my life, my smile, my laugh, my everything."
On the keychain it read, "You are my superhero."
He clenched them in his hand. Then he ran towards the edge and jumped. It was so nice to breath in fresh air. He felt fear take hold in his stomach. Fear of hitting the bottom and of death.
Imagining his family happy, he actually smiled. He imagined them in ten years. Then he imagined them there with him in his last minutes on earth.
And he was released from all his suffering. He started flying.
Samantha Wilson opened the door to find two policemen on her door. She wiped the tears off her face, but her eyes were still red and puffy.
"We regret to inform you that Mr. Wilson was killed in the attack." One of the officers said.
"What happened?" She choked out.
"He jumped off of the roof." The second one anwsered.
She started sobbing. She felt her whole being and existence shake. Without Derek she began questioning who she was and will be. Could I have been as strong as Derek?
Then the first one handed her a Ziploc bag. She opened it and pulled out two items. One was a ring and the other was a key chain. She read them and started crying even harder.
"Do you know what these are?" The second one asked.
She nodded. "They were my anniversary gifts."
"Anniversary?" They asked together.
"The day of the attack was our 10th anniversary." She explained.
Since the attack, she had gotten no sleep. Mike and her had listened to the recording too many time too count.
"Thank you officers." She managed to get out after a lot of tries. She was just happy that they had found him. She couldn't ask for anything more.
She closed the door and went back to the couch. On the coffee table sat some flowers and a box of chocolates. They were the gifts she got for Derek.
"I'll always love you Derek." She whispered. As she started at the flowers, she could swear that she felt her husband there in the room with her.
The police changed their number to 911
Because no one would forget how much
The world needed help on 9/11
(A/N: I have no idea if that last part is true.)