Date Submitted: 9/12/2016
I was 23 years of age when the planes hit the towers, living in the North western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. My mother worked for United Airlines here as a concierge and I remember being woken up in the middle of the night, from the the phone ringing. My boyfriend answered the phone and then came in to hand me the receiver. It was my mother and I remember starting to panic because she never rang during the middle of the night unless it was something serious like my dad had fallen ill or had to go to the hospital or something like that. She sounded so distant, yet really she lived only about 20 minutes away by car. She asked me to turn on the tv, so we went out to the lounge room and thats when I saw it unfolding. I was in utter disbelief. At first I thought it wasn't real, like it was an advertisement for a new movie or something, then I started crying. I hung up the phone, I don't even remember doing that, but my boyfriend and I just watched the news for a few hours. Eventually, I went to bed (due to the time difference) because I had to get some sleep as I was working the next day. I didn't sleep very well, yet when I woke up I thought I had dreamed it. As we left for work the next day, everything was sort of surreal and it felt like everything had changed. It was beautiful spring day and I was annoyed that it was so lovely because it felt like it shouldn't be. Innocent people had lost their lives doing what we were doing - just going to work. For a brief moment I I didn''t want to go, like it was some sort of omen. Even so, as far away as I was the air felt different. The wind in the trees felt strange and the realisation that yesterday was a normal day and today was irrevovocably changed. I suddenly realised how vulnerable we all were, there was a definite feeling of a loss of innocence. I went to work, but I was really jittery, like any loud noises really startled me. I called my mother when I got home, all flights were grounded at the airport until further notice and my mother had an extremely difficult day. We called a taxi and we went and stayed with her at her place. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness and I just wanted to be with her, be with my family.
"God help us..." were my words. I felt so helpless...
Charmaine (story excerpt)