I was walking into work that morning. Birds were chirping around me and the sky was shining above me on my short walk from my parking lot in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. I walked into my building to utter silence. I peeked inside the Director’s office en route to the steps that would take me to the office I shared with two others. He was frantic and packing his bags and I could hear the TV on in his office. He motioned for me to come in and then I saw a few other co-workers standing near him watching the screen before them. Mouths were dropped open, eyes were tearing up and I got goosebumps as I turned to the screen to see that one of the buildings in NYC was smoking. Was that a plane end sticking out of the building? My brain and mouth weren’t working together and I just went numb. We all stood together as we watched live coverage and we saw a fleck in the distance closing in on the other building and soon our world exploded.
An explosion at the Pentagon, a burning field in Pennsylania, what the hell was going on? We were dismissed from work, sent home to be with our families and friends. We were told to check our emails later and be safe.
On my 25 minute drive home I felt all alone although I had just spoken with my parents and my one brother. I thought the world was ending and I remember this unreal quiet to everything. There was not a lot of cars on the road and no planes flying in the sky. As I got closer to home I noticed several parking lots emptied that were usually speckled with cars. I walked in the house, hugged my mom. The TV was on and I sat glued to it for what seems like hours. Disbelief, sadness, and an empty, quiet feeling that still when I think of it, gives me goosebumps and makes me crumble with sadness.