Wide-eyed, full of curiosity and joy, I entered the large toy store clutching my 7-year-old brother Eric’s hand.
Toys were the only thing that I could see; Racks full of them; they filled my vision as I looked around.
“Kristy, can I go and see the Power Rangers?” Eric asked me.
“Yes but remember mom has given us only 10 dollars. We can’t spend much.” I instructed him. He nodded and ran off. I started searching for what I wanted.
Glancing everywhere I finally found the most desirable object for now. Barbie.
They pulled my 9-year-old self like a magnet. Eyes wide with wonderment, I started choosing between their various accessories.
As I was lost in the world of Barbie, I forgot my brother. After selecting one, I decided to roam around.
Letting my hand brush across soft toys, I moved about the huge place.
Suddenly the lights went off and the whole store plunged into darkness. I panicked thinking about Eric. I knew that he was scared of darkness.
Breathing heavily, I ran among the racks, searching for Eric. There was no sign of him.
At last, I found him, sobbing near the end of the store.
Enclosing him in a hug, I whispered quietly “I found you.”
20 years later
Typing furiously, I am rushing to complete the work. My fingers ache, but I cannot rest.
“Just a few words more, just a few words more,” I keep muttering to myself.
Around me, people are busy in their own work, some gossiping amongst themselves. Near me, two middle-aged women are discussing their husbands but I do not have time to listen to their discussion.
“Kristy, take a break and have some coffee, “
I glance up to Josh holding two steaming cups of coffee. “Keep one here. I will take it later,” I say. He places one on my desk and walks away.
“Aha, finished” I exclaim, victoriously. I pick up the cup; absent-mindedly and immediately scald my tongue. I get up from my seat, cursing myself, and look out of the window of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
I hear a loud crash from the upper floor.
“A plane has crashed into the tower, run for your life.” Someone yells.
Shock fills in me, as I wildly get up from my desk. Thought of my brother Eric who works on the 42nd floor strikes me as I rush outside. My body seems to freeze on the spot.
‘What will he do?’ the thought numbs my body as I stand near the door, people pushing past me.
“Kristy, come.” Josh pulls my hand but I hold him.
“What about Eric?” I whisper.
“Kristy, save your life first.” I refuse and shake him away. He sighs and runs away.
I start running towards the stairs. As soon I reach them, I start climbing them.
“Kristy, this way,” An old man directs me, but I ignore him.
“Sad that I work on the 36th floor,” I keep repeating the words repeatedly.
At last, I manage to get past the people who are rushing down. Clutching my sides I reach the 42nd floor and start searching for my brother’s office.
Soon, I open the door, eyes searching for my brother. After much searching, I find him crouching in a corner.
“What happened to you?” I look at him, concerned. His foot is bleeding badly. The chances of making it out alive are now too less.
“Fell down while trying to escape. Go, you will die if you stay here. The tower will collapse any second.” I shake my head at him.
“No, none of us are going to die. We are going to stay alive.” I help him stand up. Limping, with his foot bleeding, he manages to make it to the staircase.
“I can’t make it from here. My foot hurts too much. You go.” He pushes me off.
“No. I am not going to leave you alone.” I firmly say.
“It is not the time to show your sisterly love. I said GO!” He yells.
“I will die with you!” He shakes his head.
“Please go, Kristy I beg you.” He pleads but I refuse.
“If time has come, then we will die together.” Tears stream down from my eyes and he hops up to me and wraps me in a hug.
Sighing, I force him to sit down. I could never imagine dying like this. Crouching on the floor, we wait for our death, which cannot be stopped now.
I link my hand with him, spending the last few moments of my life with my brother.
“I found you, again!” I smile at him and he returns it.
Then the tower crashes bringing our impending death.
© Copyright 2017 Trupti Soman. All rights reserved.
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