Untitled [New York City]

Black and white photograph of Twin Towers with graphic hand pointing and words my house
Color photograph of Ground Zero, New York City

I was sitting on my sofa when suddenly there was a loud noise and the windows shook violently. I couldn't imagine what it was and wondered if a delivery truck crashed into my building. I decided to go to the roof to investigate.

When I walked onto the roof I froze at the site. There was a big gaping hole in the tower and flames and black smoke. I went into shock, like I wasn't fully in my body. I could hear myself crying. I saw people jumping. I heard them hit the ground, but my brain thankfully erased the visual. The sound though still haunts me.

What snapped me out of it was...a loud roar, and an explosion. The second jet. A huge ball of flames and debris. I ran down the stairs back to my apartment. I was horrified, disoriented, confused, terrified.

At some point there was a deafening noise. The building started shaking. I hit the floor beside my sofa and covered my head. When the noise and shaking stopped, I peeked over the sofa arm and saw a cloud then everything went black. I could not see the hand in front of my face. I thought I was dead.

There was a weird smell and I thought if I'm smelling this, I can't be dead.

Then I saw the light to my surge protector and thought, if I'm seeing that I'm not dead. I tried to figure out why I could not see and thought perhaps I was buried alive. I had not yet realized the tower had fallen.

felt my way around my flat. The cats were hiding. filled their water bowl. felt my way to door. The door did not feel hot. decided to go to the lobby to find out what happened. pulled my t-shirt over my nose like a filter and opened the door. The hallway was like a fog. The emergency light was on but it was so hard to see. walked down the staircase and with each flight, it became thicker and thicker. Everyone in the lobby was covered in white dust. My doorman Felix said, "Go Wendy, go, 'll watch over everything". I stepped outside with arms outstretched to feel for the next building, I shuffled across the courtyard thru ankle deep debris until I found the next building. I would not look down at debris. All around me it was snowing gray stuff.

When I reached the door of the building someone opened it and pulled me inside. Then an officer banged on the door and told us to run. We ran toward South Ferry. I saw Dino the security guy from World Financial Center and we hugged.

Then we heard another roar. Dino told me to get down and take cover. He shielded me while we huddle on the pavement. I asked him if it was another plane and he said tearily, "No, it's the other tower falling down". I had not fully realized that the North Tower had already fallen. It felt like we were being sand blasted. My skin burned.

When we were able to get to our feet, we stood there dazed when a police boat pulled up and told us to get on. I wouldn't go. I needed to make sure my building was still there and that my kitties were safe. Dino told the officer he would take me. We walked back to my corner and he said, "look look your building is fine, your cats are fine...". We headed back to the boat.

They dumped us across river were we sat staring at the cloud. I could not stop crying. Later a bus arrived and took as to a high school. I washed my face at the sink. I slept on the wood floor of the gym. I kept hearing noises, explosions...I would later learn they were audio hallucinations.

These would continue for quite some time.

I was diagnosed with PTSD. I had great difficulty articulating what happened so I had to write it all down in a diary.

A detailed diary of they day, and the days that followed, including my recovery from PTSD are on my blog.

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