A Confession of Terror
The Priestess of the House of the Serpents says I must shed yet another skin.... so here goes.
A Confession of Terror
It has been nearly five years since September 11, 2001. Since that time I have exchanged the occasional "what-were-you-doing-when-it-happened" stories with others, but I have never once written about the experience. It is not that the events of that day have faded from my memory and that I have become complacent about the whole thing. To the contrary, I have never truly thrown off the terror and uncertainty of that day. In fact, I believe that I have internalized the fear into the fabric of my being. I say this because last week, while at the movies, I saw a trailer for a new film called World Trade Center which is premiering soon. During the trailer, I believe I had a minor post-traumatic stress reaction, becoming physically uncomfortable and emotional stressed as I watched the trailer's reenactment of the planes slamming into the WTC. It was so distressing for me to watch this because I witnessed the second plane crash into the WTC on Live television that morning five years ago.
The night before the attack, I had had a fitful night's sleep, having been awakened about 2 a.m. from a dream where I and some strangers were waiting for some planes to drop bombs on us! The dream frightened me so much I remember bolting straight up in bed, sweating and breathing hard. I think this dream was mere coincidence and certainly not a prophetic one, but it certainly rattled me so much that when my radio alarm came on a little before 6 a.m. (California time) and I heard that a plane had crashed in NYC, it propelled me out of bed and to my television.
I had been watching only a couple of minutes when I saw a streak across the screen and an explosion of smoke and fire. I remember screaming "Oh, Jesus, Oh, God!" at the t.v. and then muttering over and over to myself, "I just saw people die, I just saw a plane full of people die!" Unbelievably, it did not occur to me then that we were under attack. I thought it was some sort of bizare glitch in the air traffic control system. This thinking slowly changed as reports started coming in about the planes crashing into the Pentagon and into the fields of Pennsylvania.
I pulled myself together and headed towards work. As I drove along my usual route, a street along the backside of the airport, I listened to Peter Jennings at ABC describe the collaspe of one of the WTC towers. As calm as he tried to be, I could still hear the terror in his voice, and it was then that the full realization of what was happening to us set in.
Driving alongside the airport, I suddenly realized the possible danger to myself. If New York and D.C. were under attack, why not L.A.! I hit the gas and sped to work. I debated for a moment about whether or not to turn around and go home. I wanted to be in my own environment and near a news source, but I continued along to work. When I got there, we received word from the top that classes would be held as planned and all employees were to work their shift.
At first I thought they had made a mistake: we should be off the streets, leaving them clear for emergency personnel and vehicles, but I came to realize that our management was responding in the only possible way to those who were attacking us: "We will continue as normal; you will not effect us, you will not achieve your goal!" In fact, a student came to me a few days later and thanked me for being at work. I had taken a call from her that day and had calmed her down considerably, she told me. She said that I had provided a presence of normalcy on a day of madness. I thanked her for her comments but underneath I knew I did not deserve the compliment.
In fact, that day, and to this very day, I am still afraid. I have not been on a plane since then and have physical and emotional reactions when I see images of the events of 911.
I am ashamed to say and I confess it here before you all: "They may have achieved their goal, at least in MY LIFE."
God help me.
Lori Gloyd (c) June 3, 2006