A Normal Day ~~ A Normal Morning
Juanita left her home apartment in Hamilton heights, Harlem New York. Her three years old daughter Tamika was staying with grandma Willma Mae. Lebron, her ex-husband picked her up at that moment, yep! 7:15 a.m. He was a Cab driver for a TL&C Limousine service.
He checked his cell for the time. "No way man!! This is... you better hurry up 'nita.' I've got too much shit to do," warned her Lebron spitting on the floor. He didn't show Juanita that sweet love anymore; he saw his daughter and said good bye. "I know Lebron, I know...come here Tamika. You better listen to grandma okay sweet thang? Mom please don't' forget to fix her formula. I've got spring water last night from Wal-Mart..."
"Nita, please! You better go! I've got everything under control. You know how that good for nothing Lebron is!! You better leave. Your "free" taxi is waiting and this nightmare of a man doesn't look too friendly... at all!" said Juanita's mom with disdain and a synchronized move of her neck.
"Oh, please Ms. Williams, knock it off, would you? I'm doing ya both a favor... so Nita can find a job. Ready now?" responded with anger Lebron, who had to throw away some trash on the passenger side... even had to move some of his weekend clothes back in the trunk.
"Wait a minute you asshole... don't talk to my mom like that! Let's go then! I wish I'd never met you," replied Juanita really mad finishing combing her hair on the go.
"Seems that you will never change, good for nothing," replied Juanita's mom pointing her finger to Lebron. Matter of fact, Juanita had to stop her mom from jumping on Lebron, literally. "Mom, stop it!"
"Come on ladies! I'm here just to help, not to hear a bunch of the same bullshit!"
"Next time, don't even come to help us Lebron. My mom's blood pressure is already high!"
"Just get in 'nita'! What a waste of time. Geez!"
"Yeah! I wasted 7 years of my life with you, loser!"
Long Island, New York, 7:25 a.m.
Mark Stone left his Townhouse in Garden City, Nassau County - Long Island. They bought that stunning dwelling from his aunt Martie... around the 4th of July.
Mark's wife had already walked half a block in order to take their son to the SAME corner down that block, where little Jimmy waited for the school bus.
Mark drove off his Nissan Pathfinder 2001 out of his car garage. Fortunately he reached both of them, waving goodbye. He didn't have time to stop; it was just another Tuesday morning anyway!
"Bye daddy!" said little Jimmy, who just started first grade the week before. This little champion was proud to carry his "Mighty Morphine Power Rangers" book bag and his little lunch which included peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Orange juice and a apple pie was packed as back up from sweet mommy. "Bye Hun, I'll be here waiting with supper and your favorite Salad," said wife Sheila with a beautiful smile, the one that won Mark's heart at prom night back in 1990.
But hold it! This time Mark stopped his car 20 feet away from them and backed up. "Happy anniversary! my cupcakes," said Mark giving her a box of chocolates and a red rose! He didn't forget their anniversary as she thought he did! They got married on September 11, 1994.
"Happy anniversary too, darling. Honestly I thought you forgot all about it. You played me Good Mr. Stone!!" she said while stealing a kiss from him.
"Well, time for me to be heading for work. Consultants will be there this morning to check my business proposal, and my boss won't take another lateness. You know how they are!...Bye Shelia! Behave Jimmy!"
"Bye sweetheart... and drive safe, please!" said mark's wife. Little Jimmy cried out of the blues, seeing his dad leaving. Did he feel something?
"Come on Jimmy, dad is going to work. Say bye..he is waving back to you now. Stop it please for goodness sake.! Do you want to ruin mommie's day?" Jimmy composed himself, but something was not right. He feared something that his own mom wouldn't be able to understand.
The school bus came on time, and Jimmy stepped in. His new friend was all the way back. Sheila walked back home and felt a plane's shadow that passed her on. "These planes are flying lower and lower lately!!"
Queens New York 6:15 a.m.
Carlos Martinez, left his apartment in Corona Queens, which he shared with other six friends. Most of them were from Sonora and Puebla, Mexico. Due to their legal status, they couldn't afford something better.
His other friends waited for contractors, carpenters or electricians, near a corner store. These contractors would pay them cash under the table by the day. Better said, the end of the day. Most of them were trained to cut grass, paint houses, do light masonry, or whatever luck would choose them for.
Carlos was luckier indeed; he got hired with a cleaning company, but he had to be at work before 7 AM. His only quick way out was the subway system. He carried his backpack with oranges, tortillas, tacos, cleaning gloves and some CD's from 'Tigres del norte' .
He jumped on the 'R' train that would get him to Manhattan with no delay. His wallet had a picture of his wife and 6 years old son, who he didn't see since he was one year of age. A wallet size card with a 'virgen de guadalupe' showed some words from his mom written in Spanish. She gave it to him almost 7 years ago.
Carlos was already cleaning some toilets in this skyscraper building, and when he flushed the last toilet, he saw important people that wanted to use the bathroom. Definitely had to walk away. He got on the elevator and faced Mark for the first time, who was going to his monthly safety meeting at a higher area. "Hi," said Mark, trying to be polite to Carlos. Who shyly responded: "No English señor." The elevator doors opened and Carlos smiled and exited. "Take care buddy," replied Mark loosely. Carlos just shrugged himself, but waved bye.
Carlos was done cleaning more toilets and went back to the elevator. Another surprise! This time caught up with Juanita, fixing her make up and putting away her lipstick. Carlos held his trash container facing the elevator walls. But Juanita asked him again, "Say...do you know where this Insurance.." Before she finished, he made a sign of not knowing nothing. "Oh! You don't speak English right? Shoot! My bad!"
'Nada!' No! Senorita," He replied a little upset. Sixty seconds later he exited on floor 45th. She just said, "bye!"
Finally Mark made it to a big conference room and greeted different 'honcho' directors and executive key investors that were already waiting. The PowerPoint slide projector was already on, and graphs and pics were already being shown by the floor technician. PowerPoint was acting up!
By coincidence, Juanita was on the same floor as Mark himself. At the same time she found the Insurance company that told her to be there before 9a.m. It was already 8:36 a.m.
She was not the only one there. 12 women were already waiting to be interviewed. The human resources lady, a woman in her late 40's asked for her name. "Juanita Williams ma'am. I was schedule for an interview at 9.am."
"I know, I know! You guys were scheduled to be here at 9 AM, regardless..." replied the human resources lady.
"Just fill out these disclosure forms and sign these disclaimer. Do you have two forms of ID for identification purposes? Take this form for drug testing as well," asks relentlessly this woman. "Yeah, I have my driver's license and my social security card, ma'am," replies Juanita a little nervous.
Carlos exited from the elevator on the same floor where Juanita was: floor 91. He wanted to look neat and constantly was fixing his blue and gray uniform, trying to keep a low profile among so many important people. He entered the women's bathroom as usual, displaying his "warning! wet floor" sign.
WORLD TRADE CENTER
TOWER 1 NORTH
SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001
Mark was getting some doughnuts and coffee from the long table set for international conference and CEO meetings. "These guys from the blue dot com stocks, wanna take over our company with this infamous IPO takeover," said to his manager. "That move would buy us out easily. Chopping away our market value."
"Well Mark, we wanna hear your ideas and proposals, and see what we can do. All they want is get rid of people like me and you, 'downsizing' our own future. You remember the same phenomenon back in September of 87.." That was all his boss had to say.
Both voices fade away while delving into important things. Their own CFO showed up late. Meanwhile, the rest of the managers were checking the important points from the agenda, set on the table for them to see.
Juanita, asked the H.R. Clerk for the nearest bathroom. "Just go outside and... to your right you will see the women's bathroom sign. You won't miss it. Okay?" responded the H.R. lady.
Juanita excused herself and found the bathroom. But "shoot!" it was being serviced. Carlos was mopping the bathroom floor briskly. "You again amigo!? says Juanita. "My goodness boy! Small world, ain't it?
"Si," agreed Carlos smiling and cleaning the sweat from his face. "Would you mind if... oh shit! You don't even know what I'm talking about."
Carlos tried to understand her gestures... "Oh, thanks my friend; you are so kind!" said Juanita. Carlos walked out and let her in.
Mark was already explaining his critical plans to avoid this impending "take over" by this long competitor of theirs. PowerPoint slides went from left to right this time. Through the window, they saw the bluest sky.
Some white collar relaxed and even took their shoes off. "This trend has been going on since this past January, and the Doe Jones fell over 900 points..." said Mark... when...
A big plane has just impacted the bottom floors. American Airlines Flight 11 has just crashed at this very second. The shock is horrifying. Inside windows shattered against all hopes; people feared the worse. Instinctively they headed to the nearest elevator.
Juanita was caught on the hallway by this human stampede. Carlos also got the bad news. He found his mom's religious card (The Guadalupe Virgin) in his pocket and started crying while praying in Spanish. Suddenly, the card that he received from his mom fell off his hands and ended up on the corner of the stairwell. A desperate clue for him to go down the steps... but he hesitated stayed on that floor.
People opened the elevator door and faced smoke and scorching flames coming out with no remorse. Some bodies were already burning. The stairwell got filled with more smoke. An unknown person asked them to use the emergency steps to go down. Most refuse seeing the heavy smog coming up. The temperature below them was getting beyond human tolerance.
Some started making phone calls and... tryed in vain. Mark commanded the crowd to go up 18 floors to the roof. Juanita finally got her call, "Oh my God! mom. Seems that a private plane has hit us by accident, but hopefully we will get out of this...this guy is already telling us to go to the roof. Yes! I love you too! Tell..my son..." Her communication got lost.
Mark was going up the steps. But saw two guys coming down. They even pushed him out of the way. "What the f## is wrong with you, assholes! Forget it, get lost!!" These guys were Satan's elite forces, ready to pick up some souls. Carlos joined these crowd that tired so bad to make it to the roof, but found that the exit gates were sealed! Time was running out by the seconds!
To the Top...
Mark and some colleagues desperately in need of fresh air, grabbed a big conference mastodon table and rammed against a window. Their attempt was successful; they cracked up up a hole on the thick window after.. 3 long minutes. Some folks terribly desperate and in shock, went through the structural framing and tried to climb to upper levels. Panick and insane thoughts took hold of their minds, and their lives.
Some just kneeled down and sobbed. Others prayed on their cellphone with families they got in touch with. Juanita was one of them. Her face was filled with ashes and smoke. "The lord is my Shepperd I shall not want...." she said, as tears engulfed her eyes and make up. "Mom, thank you for... for giving me a wonderful life and for taking care of my son....Love you!"
Her finals seconds of life were struck again by an explosion that threw her against a concrete beam. Her nose started to bleed and her thoughts went back and forth to her early days. However, she tried to catch her last survivalist breathe. But no... She started swallowing her own blood. Then miraculously... it stopped.
Flight 175 from United Airlines Impact Tower 2 South.
Now collective panic and terror took over for good... or worse. A dantes' inferno scene turned surreal. All they saw was chaos that mixed smog, reality and desperation. Lots of them followed the strong, but who was strong enough to make crucial decisions? All became like a "flock of seagulls," as soon as one took the first step to "fly"...the rest just followed with no reasonable complaining.
But, suddenly, a light showed up. These desperate people saw this warm and beautiful light. What was happening? There was no explanation. All of them thought they were already physically death.
"Enough!" said the stern voice. "Just have faith, pray and be saved. I will redeem you all... who are my children. My angels will take hold of you for eternal salvation. Satan and your darkest flames refrain from hurting my people and turn the other way. Your demons shall kneel down and be ashamed..."
Finally their spirits got separated from their physical pain. Whenever ready, people held hands and jumped together to their death in a final and peaceful feeling of eternal freedom. Some were allowed to see their loved ones through an angelical screen. Others took the same action and got comforted by the light. Mark held hands with Juanita and... from nowhere came Carlos who was able to speak now in perfect English: "Brother and sister, I'm ready."
Slowly, the three of them, stepped forward and joined themselves... in eternity.
Copyright © 2011
Joseph De Cross
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the
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