Recollections of a disaster: My boyfriend and I were visiting my mother in Denville, New Jersey. She had to be to work early and we were going to hop on the train and head back to the city after breakfast. Asleep on her couch, we were roused by the phone. My mother was breathless. She said turn on the TV. I remember thinking I didn't like TVs on especially first thing in the morning, but I turned it on anyway. Every channel depicted the same image. It was around 9 am - or maybe 9:30. The newscaster was commenting on how the plane couldn't be all that large and that it was potentially the mistake of the pilot. He sounded perplexed and much more personable than most newscasters. A few seconds later when another plane crashed, the newscaster became more human. His voice cracked. His training in composure and tone were gone. He was like the rest of us. I flicked through the channels and listened to newly transformed newscasters expressing their various opinions on the chaos taking place. It was evident this was some massive plan to take America down, to control America, to give us a big spanking. The commentary and images continue to spill. My mother rushed home from work and we all sat and watched the madness until the towers fell. My mother was wrought with anxiety. I pulled her outside to the pocket park across the street. We sat on swings and absorbed the weight of what was happening just a few miles away. I hadn't ever seen someone look so tortured on a swing under a surreal blue sky. My heart raced. I was convinced we deserved what was coming to us. We had been bad. The president was a complete moron and the supporting government, manipulative. I became excited at the thought of a massive revolution and tried to convince my mother that these things happen for a reason. But I was still too far away and naive to see the consequences of such violence until the following day when we returned to the city. The train was free. Just get on, the train conductor said. Everything was in slow motion. The train, then getting onto the mostly empty subway at Penn Station, the interactions I had with my boyfriend and strangers. A ghastly quiet had settled into the bones of the city.It was like seeing someone close to me die right before my eyes. We emerged from the subway at 14th street. Everything below 14th street had been blocked off. Smoke filled the streets. People gathered in front of bars and restaurants with scarves and masks on their faces. People cried openly and consoled strangers. New York would never be the same. America would never be the same.