No one answers. Everyone is in shock. “LIVE” is written in bright red on the left-hand top of the screen. All four of us are frozen in horror as the second tower crashes to the ground. The kids are playing on the floor –happy, and oblivious that their lives have just changed forever.
“Is this LIVE?”
“Shut the fuck up!” the man was visibly shaken and me asking if it was ‘live’ 100 times in some weird state of shock was making it worse.
Justrose, and her S and little P, had walked into our shore house only minutes before. I had called her while they were still on the road to tell them what was happening... I’m not sure they really believed me. I didn’t blame them…I was watching it live and didn’t believe it.
The screams, the paper…it just keeps falling and flying. My God, we have no idea how many people are in there…Are there people falling? Are they jumping…oh God….oh my God…
The man and I turned at the same time and just looked at each other –it felt like forever –it felt like we had an understanding of all that was to come in that moment. We looked at the kids together too –thanking God that we were in NJ and not
The boardwalk was so surreal that day. Radios and TVs were on in each of the use-less trinket and surf shops. Everyone looked like zombies –as people passed we looked at them and everyone nodded at each other in silent understanding…and shock. The kids wanted to go on rides, to go on the beach…they didn’t understand that we couldn’t. We just wanted to be back at the house-- in front of CNN. The tugs wouldn’t let up and we finally gave in and walked to the beach…horrified to see a black line of smoke that was creeping down the horizon. Within hours, giant battleships were visible in the far distance –lined in front of the death cloud that seemed to have no end.
We couldn’t call anyone –being so close to NY our cell phones were all useless. We were all together, but the feeling of isolation and utter despair was unbearable. The Pentagon, Flight 93 in OUR state…how can this be happening? Who the hell is Usama Bin Laden? Al Qaeda? They’re gone…how can they be gone? I was at the top of that tower…I have pictures…somewhere…shit where the hell are they?! I have to find them as soon as we get home… I don’t understand…You guys can’t leave –just stay the night. I know you want to be home, but all the bridges are probably closed. OK, well please be careful and call me as soon as you get home if you can get through…
Justrose, S & P left. The boardwalk was to be closed for the next two nights because of security concerns --How do you explain that to a three-year old and a one-year old while shielding them from the ghastly truth? We put on a movie in the back room for them and sat in the living room –all night…eyes glued to CNN –in horror, anger, tears, spewing profanity and guilt –that we were so happy that we were there –in that smelly beach house, in Ocean City, New Jersey.