Last Good-Byes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everyone remembers the tragedy that struck our nation on September 11, 2001. An inside look at what happened to one victim on that horrible day...

Submitted: December 20, 2012

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Submitted: December 20, 2012



This story was written on a stack of napkins in a plastic bag that was found among the rubble from the 9/11 attacks where the North Tower used to be...


My name is Lillian Marie Jova. I am writing my story by the light of my cell phone just in case I don't make it out of here alive. I was born and raised in New York City. I have a ten-year-old daughter, Amanda, and a seven-year-old son, Ryan. My husband's name is Robert Jova, and today is my 32nd birthday.


I woke up at 7 a.m., just like any other day. I turned on the news as my husband jumped into the shower. "Good morning, America! It's Tuesday, Semptember 11th. And it's currently 7:05 on this lovely fall morning..."

I hurriedly got ready for work as I listened to the lastest news and fashion. I poured two bowls of cereal, made a pot of coffee, and ate a dry piece of toast. Amanda walked out of her room and sat at the table, all ready for school. "Where's Ryan, Amanda?" I asked.

"Still asleep. What else is new?" she said absently as she took her first bite of cereal. I sighed and walked to Ryan's room, hoping he was at least dressed. My hopes were crushed as soon as I opened the door and saw him still sleeping with his Superman pajamas on. I stepped into the room and shook him gently.

"Ryan? Sweetie, it's time to get up," I said quietly. He mumbled something inaudible. "What was that?" I asked sweetly.

"It's not seven yet, Mommy..." he yawned. I smiled and shook my head. I shook him gently until he got up. I made him get dressed, brush his teeth, and made sure he had all of his homework in his backpack. He sat at the table and started to eat his already soggy cereal. Amanda started teasing him right away about how he couldn't even get ready for school without my help.

"That's enough young lady. Don't you have chores to do before your father takes you to school?" I asked tersely.

"But, Mom..." she whined. I gave her a look that said not to argue with me. She glared at me and got up, leaving the room as quickly as she could. Robert walked into the kitchen, planting a kiss on my cheek before pouring himself a cup of coffee.

"Another half argument?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer. I sighed and nodded solemnly.

"I don't know what to do with her anymore. She keeps acting out as if to prove that she's getting older. I know that she's growing up, but if I don't do something soon, I'm afraid she's going to do something stupid." I said with worry thick in my voice. Robert pulled me into a comforting hug, laying his head on top of mine.

"It'll be okay. We'll think of something, honey." he said kissing the top of my head. We both heard gagging noises and turned to look at Ryan.

"Ew! Old people love!" he exclaimed as he jumped from his chair and bolted out of the room. Robert and I looked at each other and just shook our heads. I cleaned up as Robert got the kids and their stuff together.

"Bye, honey," I said giving Robert a kiss. Amanda and Ryan exchanged similar grossed out looks. "Be good you two." I said seeing their shared look.

"Whatever." Amanda retorted as she walked out the door towards the car. Ryan ran after her. I sighed looking at Robert.

"Everything will work out, I promise." he said smiling. I fixed his tie before he had a chance to walk out the door.

"I hope so." I commented. He kissed me and closed the door behind him. I glanced at the clock and rushed together so I wouldn't be late for work. As I sat in mid-morning traffic, I quickly put on a light shade of lip gloss and a quick swipe of mascara. I heard my cell phone go off and I dug in my purse for it. I found it and answered it. "Hello?" I said.

"I forgot to tell you happy birthday." It was Robert. I smiled and chatted with him for a few minutes before he got to his office. When I got to work, I had to compose myself before getting into the elevator. Going up 106 floors was not ideal. I clocked in at 8 a.m. sharp.

"So the birthday girl finally shows up." I heard behind me. I smiled and turned to the chef, Max.

"Where's my cake, Max?" I said teasing like. He shook his head and waved a finger at me, making a tsking sound as he did so.

"You know better than that, L.J. You don't get your cake until the end of your shift." he said smiling. I rolled my eyes at him and grabbed my apron. He handed me a small, long box with purple wrapping paper and a pink bow. "From all of us in the kitchen." I took it and ripped off the paper. I opened the box. Inside was a brand new silver pen with my name etched in elegent script along the side.

"Thanks, Max!" I said hugging him. He hugged back and jokingly dusted himself off.

"Go do your job, or we'll all be fired." he said. I put my name tag on and went out into the restaurant. Working at the Windows of the World restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Centers had a relaxing effect on me. It made me forget all the problems I was having with Amanda, that it was my birthday, and that my house was a mess. A half hour went by without me noticing. I was bringing back dirty dishes to the dishwasher when the plane hit. It felt like the world was being turned upside down. Paintings came off the walls, people were tossed from their seats, dishes fell from racks and crashed to the floor. Thick black smoke started to roll into the restaurant and the kitchen.

"What's happening?" I heard a man yell.

"Someone call 911!" I heard anouther shout.

"Oh my god! We're trapped!" I heard a woman scream.

"Everyone, remain calm please. Does anyone have a cell phone?" Max said having an instant effect on the crowd. A man handed his cell phone to Max. Max walked into the back office to make the call.

Suddenly, everyone had their cell phones out. They were calling loved ones, saying good byes. I pulled out my phone to find I had no service. I was on the verge of tears. I quickly scrambled about the kitchen looking for something that I could at least record my last good byes on. I found a stack of napkins and pulled out the pen that Max had given me and just started writing.


Now I come to the part of my story where I find myself writing everything down. I just want to tell my mom and dad that I love them and that Robert is a good man. To Amanda and Ryan, mommy loves you both so much. Listen to your dad and be good please. And finally to my loving husband Robert, I love you, honey. Take care of our kids and--


Lillian Marie Jova's cell phone died before she could finish writing her goods byes. She wasn't one of the lucky ones that made it out. When this story was found, it was given to her family. Robert Jova moved to Utica, New York, to live with Lillian's parents and raise ten-year-old Amanda and seven-year-old Ryan.

© Copyright 2018 Kirsten Tousignant. All rights reserved.

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