Friday, September 12, 2008

Cousin Pete and a sunny September day

Everyone has a story
about September 11th,

I was actually right below in the subway when one of the buildings was hit. I was on the R train on my way to work after dropping off my son at the Montessori school at Atlantic and Third Avenue.
The conductor announced that the train would be passing
Cortland Street because of “police action”.

When we finally stopped at the City Hall station, an unusually large number of people rushed on to the train.

And this is the "picture" that will always stick in my mind.
The woman who sat directly across from me.
She was a well-dressed Asian woman wearing a black dress.
The dress looked like it was torn in places, while the woman had fresh cuts on both her knees. She just stared straight ahead.
She looked like she was in shock.

I had no idea what was going on, and asked the woman if she was ok. Her body was trembling uncontrollably, and she didn’t say a word.

It wasn’t until an older man got on at the next stop that I had some idea about what had just happened. He just announced to the entire train car that “a plane just hit the World Trade Center” and there were “people jumping out of the building”.

And this is the second "picture" that will always stick in my mind.
I remember there were two young teenage girls sitting next to me. They were both sharing a headphone and listening to music.
They were both laughing at what they were listening to and were totally oblivious to what had just happened.

And just like the woman with the cut knees,
I still think about those two young girls.
Innocent laughter on September 11th 2001
while the souls of thousands perished.

No, they didn’t do anything wrong.
They were just being kids.

By the time I got to work up at 50th street, I knew what happened. No, this wasn’t just an accident, no we were being attacked.

So Avon Products closed early that day and I met up with my wife.
We decided to walk home over the 59th street bridge, because I heard that lower Manhattan was closed, including the Brooklyn bridge. Well, that was a mistake on my behalf, and it added a lot of miles and about an hour to our trip to Fort Greene.

And all the way home I just couldn’t
help but think about my cousin Pete.

Pete is my cousin you know, but really a brother.
We grew up together at 399 East Forth and were
always extremely close. He worked in the World
Trade Center and I knew he was there that day.

And because I had no idea if he was dead or alive,
I just prepared myself for the worst.

So I just thought about him during the long walk home.
About all the times we played roller hockey together
on East Fourth street in Kensington.
About our camping trips upstate in Downsville.
About the phone calls we made to each other
just about every day.
And about the times we sat on our front stoop
together at 399 East 4th.

I had a real bad feeling about Pete that day.
But I tried my best to be positive.
And I may have even said some prayers,
although I haven't been to IHM in years.

Well, we finally got to the YWCA and picked up our son.
And then headed to Adelphi Street to our house.

And again I just thought about my cousin.

Well, by the time we got home there was a flashing red light
on the answering machine.

Good or bad, I knew it must have been some news
about my cousin Pete.

So, I gently pressed the button and closed my eyes.

“Hey Ronnie, I’m ok,
I just wanted to let you know I’m ok”.

It was the voice of my cousin Pete,
and I just broke down crying.

Everyone has a story
about September 11th.

Ron Lopez
Website Counter

Free Counter

No comments: