What’s Your Story?

posted by Momo Fali on September 10, 2010

Ali was watching “Barney”.

We used to give her empty coffee cans and let her drum on them, but on this morning she had flipped one of them over and was using it as a stool just a few feet from the television. She had her hands on her knees and her head was tilted backward as she stared at the screen.

I was preparing to leave so the two of us could go to story-time at the library. It was the only place where I could watch her socialize and consistently see her be the last in line when they handed out a craft after the story. She never pushed or stepped in front of anyone. She would always turn and look at me and I would wave my hand forward and mouth, “Go! Get up there!”, but she never would.

I moved past her and her coffee-can chair to an open window and noted her frozen, I’ve-been-sucked-into-Barney state. I heard the sound of branches being chipped up by a tree service down the block. I heard dogs barking and cars driving by. After I shut the window and locked it, the phone rang. Ali didn’t blink an eye.

“Hello?”

My husband didn’t waste time with a greeting, “Hey, do you have the TV on?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Two planes hit the World Trade Center. Turn on CNN.”

I grabbed the remote and sat on the corner of the coffee table. As I changed the channel. I glanced down to notice a death-glare from my three year old.

“Wow”, I said. “That looks like an awful freak accident.”

“I don’t think it’s an accident.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on.”

“Well, we’re on our way to story-time so I’ll throw a tape in the VCR and watch it when I get home and let you know what I find out.”

I unwrapped a new tape, inserted it, hit record and we made our way to the library.

Ali and I found an empty space on the floor where we could peacefully settle in for the duration, but after ten minutes, story-time was abruptly canceled when an employee slipped the reader a note. It was on a small, yellow piece of paper and as she read it silently, I wished I could see through to the other side.

The woman reading calmly pulled off her glasses and said, “We’re going to stop here. You should all go home.”

Ten minutes later I was, again, in my living room. I stood in front of the television and hit the power button, I saw the second tower fall. I fell at the same time as it did.

I remember the pain as I crashed to my knees and cried out. I remember holding my daughter in my arms and reassuring her despite my sadness. I remember being very scared.

I sat in front of the television that entire day. I watched the towers fall over and over.

As the afternoon sun began to set, I went to the window and lifted it. There were no dogs barking, no cars driving past…not even the faint hum of an air conditioner. Just silence.

Then I flipped over Ali’s coffee can and turned on Barney.

    Comments

  • As Cape Cod Turns


    Isn't it weird how you can remember the exact things that happened that morning? I can remember everything too.

  • Eric's Mommy


    I remember exactly what I was doing that day too. I was pregnant with my son and happened to have the day off from work. I remember watching the news coverage all day.

  • Tara R.


    I had just dropped off my son at school and was listening to the radio on my drive home. When the first reports came I pulled over and called my husband. He works on an Air Force Base. They were on lock down and non-essential personnel were being sent home.

    The schools were sending kids home early. I went home and watched the news the rest of the day. I still get a catch in my throat just thinking about that day.

  • ♥Georgie♥


    Our days were very similar…like you I was scared and glued to the tv….

  • Tela


    You've inspired me to do my own post about it. I was in NYC at the time, and whenever I say that, people are always intrigued. I should get it all down for "prosperity's sake"–whoever that prosperity person is, anyway.

  • meleah rebeccah


    I will never forget where I was or what I was doing that day. The images of the towers falling are forever tattooed to my brain.

  • Amie


    I remember sitting and watching CNN for hours, reading the crawl to avoid seeing the images over and over again. And then crying when the members of Congress sang "God Bless America."

  • Lynette


    Yeah, it's one of things that you don't ever forget. I lived on a military base at the time.

    So strange how they went from a place where they were always preparing for war to activation. I never thought I'd see anything like it in my lifetime.

  • WeaselMomma


    Let us never forget.

  • Patty@NYC Girl at Heart


    Your story just gave me goosebumps. Hugs xo

  • Secret Agent Mama - Mishelle Lane


    Similar stories. Mine has Barney in it, too. Then just news. And the internet. And the phone. And that bright blue sky. Being in Buffalo, NY at the time. That bright blue sky still gets me, and on certain days when I see a bright blue sky, it takes me to those crushing hours. The hours that changed the world as we knew it. Forever.

  • AlisonH


    I was on my way home from driving my kids to the high school when the news came over the radio as I was stopped at a red light. I stared at the other drivers: DID YOU HEAR THAT?

    Clearly, not a one knew yet.

    My brother, who'd been on the subway, finally found a working phone to call his wife and then our parents.

    Mom. Dad. I'm okay.

    Would that all those others could have too.

  • Davina


    I, too, remember clearly. I had taken the dogs outside and came back in and my sister had called and told me to turn on the tv. I remember when she told me, I thought she was over dramatizing as she often did. I watched. My brother was living with us at the time and when I tried to wake him up, he didn't want to wake up. But then I called my husband, a local police officer, to see what this all meant for him and his co-workers. I mean, I didn't know if they were all going to rush off to NY, this was my first time experiencing a traumatic event as a police wife. He assured me, he'd be home after his shift which gave me such relief. I stayed in front of the tv all day only to break to take the dogs outside. I remember walking them and looking to the sky for other planes which should have all been grounded!

    SUCH A HORRIBLE DAY. I also remember that we had been trying to have a baby and I thought to myself, do I really want to bring a child into a world like this? BUT after that day and seeing how we, as a whole, came to the aid of others, I was convinced that I did!

  • Milaka


    My husband was at a conference in Baltimore. His group was supposed to take a tour of the Pentagon at some time during the week. I couldn’t remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday and I couldn’t get him on his cell for about an hour. The tour had been scheduled for Wednesday.

    He and his coworkers wound up renting a car and driving from Baltimore to Texas to get home. He’s got some pretty interesting stories from the road.

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