An Asian woman is staring out of our big glass windows; at the North tower. A small crowd gathers. Emerging through the cloud cover is a passenger plane. Heading straight towards us. Everyone is now looking, straining to see the object over the heads of others. We are too stunned to speak. We all thought it was heading towards our building. We were so close; I could see the lettering on the airliner's wings, its tinted cockpit and even the windows for the passengers. It collides into the North Tower. A sense of relief washes through me, knowing that I'm not dead. The feeling quickly fades.
I've never experienced an earthquake before, but I think this is what one feels like. Time slows down as I hear an enormous explosion and feel the shock waves travel up from the ground, into the building, into my body, rattling my heart. In an instant, we all hit the floor. A woman is screaming.
"Oh my god!"
"What the hell was that?"
"What is going on?"
Panicked cries call out. Finally, Dave states the harsh reality in a gruff voice.
"A frickin' plane crashed into the World Trade Center."
The lights are still on. The computers are still online. If the window shades were drawn, it would seem pretty normal. But they're not. Outside of our floor, there is a clear view of the North Tower, flames erupting from the top of the building. Our vision is soon dissipated as the plume of smoke and dust traveled into our view. With the dark cloud all around us, the eerie fluorescent light of the office filled the space. Of the 30 people with me, about half of us had cell phones. The ones that did were either calling their family or calling the rescue squads as we evacuated the floor.
I wish I had a cell phone. I could call my wife and tell her what was happening and tell her I was okay. I wonder if Dustin and his mother knows about what had happened. If they do they're probably freaking out, wondering about me. Dustin would be in his first class at this time; science. He loves science. He always comes home, excited about the lab or experiment that they did today. I wonder what he's doing right now.
Our instinct was to get away. We were like a restless herd of horses, running away from the fright. I couldn't go anywhere without touching a body of another person. The hall was filled with the cries and screams of the panicked. Many of us fell due to the chaos. You could feel the anxiety and fear of the mass of people growing. Dave stays silent, pushing through the crowds next to me like an arrow to an apple. Clean, clear and on a mission. I follow him instinctively.
I wonder what it's like to die. I wonder what would've happened if I was in the 1st building. I wonder what my family would do.