On an Amazon forum, someone asked me how I was affected by the events of September 11, 2001. The following is my answer.
I worked on the upper floors of 2WTC (100-106) for about six years in the eighties and early nineties. In 1990, I had a series of very disturbing nightmares about gangs of what looked like ordinary Americans wreaking apocalyptic havoc on their fellow citizens and destroying buildings. In these dreams I saw skyscrapers collapse in flames and people dying horrible deaths. I wrote and copyrighted a story in 1991 about foreign spies who hid in plain view for decades to strike out on orders of their overseers. On September 11, 2001, I watched CNN in horror as first 2WTC and then 1WTC were struck and then destroyed by terrorists who had lived amongst us, some for decades as it later turned out. Although I do not personally know any of the victims, I had business dealings with some of the people who perished (I had been in their office in 1WTC the summer before the attack) and I have friends who lost loved ones on that day. Even for someone like me, who was not directly affected, that day was seared into my consciousness.
Last October, author Suzzane Tyrpak ran a contest for 55 word stories. I subconsciously wrote the following:
He regularly came to this overlook with its view of Manhattan. One day, he noticed an attractive woman, several benches away. For many weeks, he sat at his bench; she hers. They both sat quietly staring at Manhattan. He finally decided to say hello; she got up and walked away. He never saw her again.
That piece of flash fiction sums up my profound sense of loss. Had I been in my former office on that brilliant September morn, I would not be here today. It was part of my life, gone in an instant in a singular act of senseless brutality.
Last summer I was in a park in New Jersey when I saw something that gave me hope. A chipmunk had chosen a rock garden as its new home. The rock garden had been erected by the county as a memorial to September 11th. That scene gave me a sense of hope and I took a snapshot of the chipmunk and submitted it as an iReport to CNN who decided to elevated it to official CNN status.