On The Morning of 9/11

On The Morning of 9/11

written by: Ms. Helen Mandlin
by: Ms. Helen Mandlin
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As a psychotherapist in private practice, I had a patient at 8 a.m. When she left, the light on my message machine was blinking. I pressed the button to listen. It was my son, a recent college graduate, who was beginning his year working as a New York City Urban Fellow.

"Mom. I'm okay. I'm fine. Gotta get off, other people waiting to use the phone. I'm coming home."

I had no idea what he was talking about. I called my husband.

"Bob, what's going on? I just got this strange call from Jason."

He told me. Only one plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. It hit me then, that Jason's meeting was at one of those buildings. I immediately left my office and walked up West End Avenue, where the usually quiet street was crowded with people outside of every pre-war building, chatting nervously with their neighbors and doormen, about the tragedy. My office was on 82nd street. I walked to my apartment on 92nd. When I got home, Bob met me with a his. The second plane had just hit.

That's when the event hit me. My anxiety level blew sky high. I spent the rest of the morning , like everyone else in the country: glued to the tv, tracking the events waiting to hear from my son. Cell phones stopped working and it wasn't until 2pm that he opened door, sweating and exhausted from his walk uptown from Trade Center. His meeting had been canceled and he didn't know the details.

"What the fuck happened, Mom. There was an explosion and lots of smoke,"

I suggested he shower and then come sit. We sat together, Jason telling his story and all of us trying to take in the events of the day.

By the end of his year, working for the city, he vowed to move out of NYC, to be "somewhere safe". He moved to Washington, D.C..

.This is an excerpt from my memoir, "Death, Divorce and Real Estate".