Watching the World End


Oddly enough, the first report I got of something wrong was off the BBC.  I went down to the kitchen to grab some breakfast before work and flipped on the television.  BBC America was showing pictures of smoke pouring out of the World Trade Center.  My first thought was it must be the anniversary of the bombing.  The sound was turned down, so I was only seeing a distant picture.  It occurred to me the bombing happened in the winter time.  I remember seeing pictures of people in the snow.  What was going on?  I flipped over to the network news and apparently missed the second plane in the process.  The news was showing slow motion replays of the explosion.  I remembered a report the day before.  They had mentioned a new air traffic control system had been installed.  My God, I thought, the computers are crashing planes into buildings.

Maybe I should wake Meka.  The thought passed through my head, but I didn’t move.  I don’t even know if I blinked.  By now, reports were coming in from Washington.  The Pentagon had also been hit.  I wondered if these were missile attacks.  Maybe the ones for the Midwest were on their way.  I should wake Meka.

I still didn’t move.

Like most disaster coverage, there was only so much news.  Obviously there had been three planes attack three buildings, but no one knew much of anything else.  They just repeated everything over and over, replaying the video over and over.  I probably saw the explosion a hundred times in the next half hour.  I still couldn’t bring myself to look away on the outside chance someone would finally know what was going on.  I really should wake Meka up.  She had family in New York though I couldn’t remember if any of them actually lived or worked in the city.

The first tower collapsed almost in slow motion.  I ran upstairs to our bedroom.  Normally I would wake Meka by kissing her on the forehead.  This time I just shook her shoulder, gently but insistent.  She frowned and slowly opened her eyes, squinting up at me.

“You better get up,” I said.  “I think the world is ending.”

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