It was a clear blue September day as I drove down the Garden State Parkway, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been for the guy on the radio. I must have misheard him. Did he say something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center? But that’s not possible. The sky was clear. Surely there were no visibility problems.
Because no one would run into the World Trade Center on purpose.
Oh, how naive I was.
I drove as quickly as traffic would allow me and ran into the office to see if anyone else had heard the same news. I turned on my computer and headed straight for the Internet. I was met with an hourglass and a blank page. I picked up the phone to call my parents. All I got was a busy signal. Although I worked at a legal newspaper, we had no television in the office.
As the morning went on, someone would manage to get to a news website or a call from outside. Words started circulating around the office.
All words. The only pictures I had were the ones forming in my mind.
My editor was on vacation that week, so my assistant editor was in charge. And her singular focus was on putting out our daily newsletter. She wanted us to get back to work.
“Don’t you understand what’s happened just miles from here?” I yelled.
She didn’t. Even when all the courts were locked down and our messenger couldn’t get the court opinions we needed for our newsletter.
The publisher eventually sent us home for the day. I headed straight to the safety of my home, locked the door, and checked it again. I was able to call my mom across town to check in. Then I sat down in front of the television, and I finally saw the images that went with those words.