6:30 AM, 9/11/01
Roberta Fisher sat on her bed as he got dressed, the middle of the mattress sagging like her heart. She told herself this would be the last time. God. She didn’t even know his name, and he looked about five years older now in dim light of dawn.
She opened the drawer to the nightstand, took out another ovulation stick and hobbled to the bathroom.
Come on, come on.
6:45 AM, 9/11/01
Tyrone hurried down the hall, spraying cologne on. God forbid Jason smelled a woman on him. He could already hear his partner’s disappointed tone.
“How could you do this to me AGAIN?”
He stood in front of the elevator, scrubbed his face.
7:15 AM, 9/11/01
Edmund was startled awake by the pigeons pecking his head. He reached for his bottle and tossed it.
“Fucking trash,” he heard someone grunt as they passed by.
He agreed with them some days, but right now all he needed was to curl up on this cardboard.
7:15 AM, 9/11/01
Roberta stood up and did a quick jig before hobbling to the bed.
I need to get ready for work, but.. I haven’t ovulated in several months.
At 37, time was running out for her to have a family. She picked up the phone.
“I’m going to be late today,” Roberta told her boss’s voice mail.
She propped her hips up on pillows and began the wait.
Tyrone let Jason’s phone calls go to voice mail.
I’ll call him at the office, he thought as he ran to catch the train.
7:57 AM, 9/11/01
The Williams family settled into their seats. Todd couldn’t it. He’d always dreamed of moving out West.
Ten years, ten years he’d spent at this company! And not one promotion. Todd finally came to his senses and called a competitor out in LA.
He rubbed Kate’s knee while she cooed at their toddler. Everything was perfect, he thought.
So long Boston.
Roberta hummed at she buttered her toast.
Maybe it’ll take, she thought. She grabbed her briefcase and headed for the door.
Ding! Floor 94 lit up on the elevator board.
Tyrone cursed as he held the door for the 10th person. His phone rang again.
It can wait until after the meeting.
It wasn’t even balls o’clock and Edmund had already made ten dollars. Of course having that pitiful looking dog helped.
Maybe he’d split a pint with it later.
Edmund roared with laughter, causing a few pedestrians to sidestep him.
Kate and Todd hugged their children tight.
Todd glared up at the masked foreigners.
My god, he thought as they flew towards NYC. I already had everything I needed.
He watched passengers squirm and furiously pound at their cell phones.
Somebody help us.
8:46 AM, 9/11/01
The train rattled and shook. Roberta pitched forward into an elderly lady.
“Is it an earthquake?” the old woman asked.
“Feels like one,” someone else said.
Red signs flashed.
“Everyone please remain calm….”
8:46 AM, 9/11/01
Edmund almost shit his pants.
People came streaming out of the underground and the building down the road. He got up and looked.
One of the Trade Towers was burning. He felt a powerful instinct pull him towards it.
Just like Nam, he thought.
Jason hit redial, tears streaming down his face.
Come on Tyrone, pick up.
“Hey this is Tyrone Higgums, if I’m not in my office you can….”
“I love you baby,” Jason told the phone.
8:57 AM, 9/11/01
Roberta sprinted down the road as firefighters rushed by her. She stopped and looked around.
Oh my god, she thought. That’s my job! That’s my work!
Those are my friends. My boss. Oh god.
9:03 AM, 9/11/01
Edmund joined the fireman as they evacuated the building.
“I can help!” he panted. “I was a nurse, I can help!”
BOOM! They hit the deck.
Just like Nam, he thought as he ran up the steps.
10:30 AM, 9/11/01
Jason was in full on panic mode. Both towers had just collapsed.
Tyrone’s stepfather came over.
“We’ll find him, don’t worry. He’ll make it.”
11:00 am, 9/11/01
Roberta still couldn’t reach her mother. She chewed her fingernails, a habit she had long given up.
“Roberta!” Her mother sobbed into the phone.
“It’s okay mom. I’m okay.”
11:38 AM, 9/11/01
EMTs tried to resuscitate Edmund, who had finally died like his brothers in Nam.
6:45 PM, , 9/11/01
Jason was with Tyrone’s family, they’d gone down to the hospitals and began looking.
It had been hours.
He called Tyrone’s number again, just to hear his voice.
They held the memorial for Tyrone.
Roberta covered her mouth and ran to the toilet.
The city gathered to remember.
Roberta bounced Tina on her hip as she paid their respects.
She caught Jason’s eyes and they shared a knowing look, yet not really knowing.
Jason watched the little girl with Tyrone’s smile.
He called Tyrone’s phone one more time after the service, just to hear his smooth baritone again.
One day he would forgive, they all would.
But they would never forget.