Memories of Short Lives

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I wrote this in the 8th grade ( so writing skills aren't the best but I got an A+ on it :D ) and have always been really proud of it. It was an assignment where we had to write a historical narrative. *All characters are fictional and the story is fiction based off of the events September 11th, 2001*

Submitted: December 11, 2013

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Submitted: December 11, 2013



It was like any other day, I woke up at 6:30 and was ready for work by 7. I packed Theresa's lunch and looked at the schedule for the day. Theresa and her eighth grade class were going on a field trip to the World Trade Center that morning. She was so excited. Don was chaperoning the field trip, mainly because he had never been in the World Trade Center and the trip was an excuse to go to the top floor and look down at the city. I had a meeting at 8, with a witness in a robbery, and wasn't really looking forward to having a tooth pulled at 4. Theresa came downstairs at 7:12 and sat down at the kitchen table while I got her some Cocoa Puffs. She complained about the history test she had to take when she got back from their field trip. Don walked in around 7:20, grabbed an apple from the counter, gave me a kiss, and they headed out the door. I heard Theresa yell I love you as she headed out the front door.

I headed out to work around 7:30. I stopped, got a coffee around 7:40 and was at work by 7:55. I ran to my office to meet my client to convince him to testify in the case. It was a small case but we needed the money because Theresa wanted to go to Northern Ireland that summer to visit her Aunt Marina.

The meeting only lasted for about thirty minutes. I had persuaded him to testify. He was going to make the case and Theresa was going to go to Ireland. I called Don. They were at the World Trade Center and were on their way to the top floor to look at the city; he promised to take pictures. He said he loved me and hung up. I decided to go get a late breakfast because the coffee wasn't going to get me through the day.

I got to the closest cafe, ordered a small green tea with a yogurt parfait, and sat down at a table in front of a window. I had to be back at the office by 9 to talk to Keith, the building manager, about the air conditioner not working and the fact that everyone was burning up in the early September heat. I left the cafe around 8:45.

I was back at the office around 9:05 and looked for Keith but he wasn't there. Something felt off, barely anyone was at their desk, and everything was quiet. I found everyone in the meeting room seated around the TV. I walked in and heard: "Flight 11 and Flight 175 have crashed into the World Trade Center." I stood there in shock. I thought of Don and Theresa. Had they left yet? Were they still at the top when the plane hit?

I ran to my desk, grabbed my cell phone and called Theresa's phone. It didn't even ring; just went straight to the cute little voice mail she had set it to. I tried Don's phone; it rang twice before I got his voice mail. I thought of the last thing both of them had said to me – “I love you” and then left a message saying I loved them both and that I would see them soon. I hung up not knowing if that would be the last words I would ever say to them. I saw I had a new message from Don. I looked at it. It was the pictures he had taken of the city. They were sent at 8:43. I didn't know if that was enough time for Don and Theresa to get out of the World Trade Center before it was hit. I sat down at my desk. I was so overwhelmed, I just cried and cried. I didn't want to think that today would be the day my little girl died or that my husband wouldn't be there when I got home.

A group of people in my building who had family working at the World Trade Center decided they would head there to try to find their loved ones, hoping they were safe. I went with them praying the whole time that Theresa and Don were safe and waiting for me. We got to the towers and there were hundreds if not thousands of people. I saw a sign saying: “This way for list of lost souls.” I didn't want to go look but I knew I had to. It would be the only way to know if I still had my family. I walked into the building and heard the sobs of families as they heard their mother, or father, or son or daughter, was dead. I saw people on their phones. I could hear their cries through the phone. I wasn't ready to see if I had to make that call. I tried to fight back the tears. I ran outside. It was only worse outside; you could see people jumping from different levels of the World Trade Center, trying to make it to the ground and live. You could hear their cries as they hit the ground. I could only hope Theresa or Don wouldn't do that.

I heard my phone ring and scrambled to answer it hoping it was Don. I wasn't. It was Karen, Amanda's mother. Amanda was on the field trip with Theresa. Karen was crying. She had just left the building I was in. Amanda was dead. When the plane hit the building, she was flung out the window and fell all hundred and ten floors. She died instantly when she hit the ground. Karen was a mess. I told her to stay where she was and I’d be right there. I headed back outside and found her on a bench crying like there was no tomorrow. I sat next to her and just held her as she cried. Amanda was an only child and Karen’s husband had died three months before. It didn't seem fair; she had just lost the love of her life and now her only child was dead. She cried for what seemed like hours. I checked my watch. It was 9:55. As each minute passed, I couldn't help but think that I would never hear Theresa or Don's voices again. Karen and I both looked up as we heard a loud crack. We saw the first tower fall. We knew no one in that tower could survive that fall. I asked Karen which tower the girls were touring. She said they were seeing the North Tower. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was the South Tower that had just fallen. As the white clouds cleared away, I gasped; there was no longer a South Tower. Karen told me she had to go call her mother and tell her Amanda had died. Her lip trembled as she said those words. I gave her a hug and she left.

Heading back into the building, I could tell that many more people had found out their loved ones were dead. A reporter was there asking people how they were and what their reaction was to this terrorist attack. How were they, they just found out that their families are dead, that they would never hear their voices again and he wanted to know how they were? I was enraged. I went straight up to him and asked him what was his problem. He looked at me like he had no idea what I was talking about. I asked him how he could ask such a thing to people who have just lost loved ones. How do you think they feel? He stood there in amazement as I yelled at him. I stormed outside; this was the second time I'd gone outside. I tried Don's phone again. This time it didn't even ring – just went straight to voice mail. This worried me. I sat on a bench and worried. Only a few people had walked from the ruble and I didn't know if any one of them were Theresa or Don. I heard another crack and turned to see the top of the North Tower falling like a majestic bird to the ground. I let out a scream. It took a moment for me to realize that if Don and Theresa hadn't found a way out or gotten lower in the tower, that they were dead. I didn't try to hold back these tears. I might have just lost my family. I sit there waiting for them to walk from the ruble, to come running into my arms and to hear their voices; to hear “I love you” come from their mouths one more time. I hear screaming from behind me and see a women embrace a young girl covered in dust. I recognize the face but can't put a name to the young girl, all I know is that she is in Theresa's class. I run to her and beg her to tell me if she knew where Theresa was. She said she didn't know. She had gotten sick on the way up to the top floor so she and one of the chaperones had gotten off the elevator. She said that she heard the plane hit only a few minutes later. She told me she was sorry and hoped that she would see her class soon. Her words didn't comfort me. They only worried me more. If she got sick on the way up then heard the plane crash only minutes later, there was no way that they had made it back down before the plane hit.

It takes me an hour to build up the courage to go back the building. I head straight for the list of the deceased. I look on the list, hoping and praying their names don't show up, hanging on to the slimmest thread of hope that they are alive. I scanned down the list to W’s. I see it: Donald H. Workman. Found face down on the ground at 9:34am. If you are a relative please contact our volunteer center. I fell against the wall and hit the ground sobbing. He was dead, gone forever. I would never hear his voice or see the color of his face again. I was only left with memories and pictures of the good times we had. I felt so empty and cold. I looked at the name again, knowing I had to have read it wrong, but there was no mistake; Don was gone and I only had Theresa left, if she was still alive. I looked and made sure Theresa's name wasn't there. It wasn't but that didn't mean she was alive: that she hadn't died when the North Tower collapsed.

Walking out of the building, I noticed that there were medical tents set up for those who had been rescued. I ran to the closest one and asked the first person I ran into if a Theresa Workman had been found – a Theresa Gene Workman. He told me that there was no one under that name in that tent but to look in the other four tents. I ran from tent to tent, getting my hopes up each time the nurse looked at her clipboard, and watched them fall like the towers when they said she wasn't there. I got to the fourth tent so sure she wasn't there. I asked if she was there, the nurse looked at her clipboard and shook her head and said no. I began to walk out of the tent sure my daughter was gone and that I was alone, when the nurse ran up to me and told me she had been transferred to Bellevue Hospital for emergency surgery about half an hour ago. I felt my heart skip a beat. Theresa was alive, my baby girl was alive. I thanked the nurse and sprinted out of the tent to my car. I speed down the highway not caring if I got a ticket or not. I made it to Bellevue hospital at about twelve o'clock. I went straight to the desk and told the nurse that my daughter had come in about half an hour ago from the World Trade Center for emergency surgery and that her name was Theresa Gene Workman. She told me Theresa was in surgery. She had hit her head extremely hard and her brain was swelling. Also, a beam had fallen on her legs and that they were both shattered. I gasped in horror as she told me what had happened to my dearest daughter. She told me to take a seat and she would tell me when Theresa was out of surgery. I said thank you and headed over to a corner of the waiting room and fell asleep.

I was not sure how long I had been asleep but I was awoken by a nurse telling me I needed to come with her. I asked if there was something wrong with Theresa; she only looked down at her feet. I looked at my watch. It was 1:30am. I had slept for over twelve hours. I suddenly remembered when I had woken up that I was in a hospital room instead of the waiting room. I quickened my pace to keep up with the nurse. We stopped in front of a window and I looked in. I stepped back. I went back to the window. Theresa was laying on a operating table with the the doctors over her body with the paddles, even I knew what that meant; her heart was failing. I buried my head into the nurse's arms and cried softly asking her if she thought my baby girl would live. She responded by pulling me into a very tight hug. I only wept harder, and then I heard it, her heartbeat went flat-lined. The nurse lead me into an office and said she was sorry for my loss. She left me and I cried myself to sleep. I had lost my husband and now my daughter. I was now alone with no one to comfort me.

I called all of the family and told them. Listening to all the cries almost broke me; it was so hard hearing them try to find a doubt to hang on to. Theresa's grandmother came and helped with the funeral plans. We planned it for September 14th, what would have been Theresa's 14th birthday. We wanted her to be 14 before she was buried. We decided to put her birthday as her death day on her grave stone with the inscription: "Step softly, a dream sleeps here.1"It was hard to figure out what to put on Don's grave, I wanted him to be remembered forever. We finally decided on one that reminded us of his personality: "He never took no for an answer and pushed ahead when others paused. But a kinder, gentler man you will never meet again.2" The funeral was full of sadness, but we remembered all the happy times we had with Theresa and Don. It has been eleven years since they died. I think of them often but know that one day I will spend forever with them.




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