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"Perfect Strangers"

Updated on September 11, 2020

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 as usual. Lebron, her ex-husband picked her up at that very moment: 7:15 a.m. He was a Cab driver for Limousine service in Jackson Heights.

He checked his cell and realized, "No way !! This is... you better hurry up Juanita. I've got too much shit to do," said Lebron spitting on the floor. He didn't treat Juanita as he did when they married long time ago. He hugged his 6 years old daughter and said good bye. "I know Lebron, I know...come here Tamika. You better listen to grandma okay sweet thang?” Juanita’s barely could understand Lebron. “Mom please, don't' forget to fix her formula. Her pediatrician was worried about her weight.I've got some spring water last night from Bj’s" Gramma goes off:

"Nita, please! You better go! I've got everything under control. You know how that good for nothing 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 circling move of her neck. LeBron had enough of her ex mother-in-law.

"Oh, please Ms. Williams, knock it off, would you? I'm doing ya both a favor... so Nita can find a job. Ready now, ex-wifey?" Lebron had to throw away some ‘single life’ trash on the back seat; even had to move some of his weekend clothes back into the car’s trunk.

"Wait a minute you asshole! Don’t talk to my mom like that! Let's go then modafucker! I wish I'd never met you," replied Juanita really mad, combing her hair on the go.

"Seems that you will never change nigga!” finished 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 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. Him and his wife bought that stunning dwelling from his aunt Martie... around that past 4th of July.

Mark's wife had already walked half a block in order to take their son to the same corner down the block, where little Jimmy could wait safely 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! What a farewell, huh?

"Bye daddy!" screamed 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 ‘the love of a mom‘ peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Orange juice and an apple pie was packed as back-up from sweet mommy dearest. "Bye Hun, I'll be here waiting with supper and your favorite gluten free 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 dozen red roses! 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 excuse. 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. “My dad is leaving us..!”

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 Zoomed above her. "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, he got hired by a cleaning company. Nonetheless, 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 his 'Tigres del norte' .

He jumped on the 'R' train that would get him to lower 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 a year old. 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 summers ago.


Carlos was already disinfecting some toilets in his area. When he flushed the last toilet, he got hold of ‘suits’ that wanted to use the bathroom. He took the slippery when wet sign and walked away. He got on the elevator and faced Mark for the first time. Mark was heading to his monthly safety meeting at a higher floor. "How’s it going?" said Mark, trying to be polite to Carlos. Who shyly responded: "No Ingles señor!" The elevator doors opened. Carlos smiled and exited. "Take care buddy!" assessed Mark. Carlos just shrugged himself, but waved bye.


Carlos was done cleaning some locker rooms and went back to the elevator. Another surprise! This time caught up with Juanita. She was fixing her make up and putting away her lipstick. Carlos held his trash container holding it against the elevator walls. Juanita asked him, out of the blue. " you know where this Insurance.." Before she finished, he made a sign of not knowing anything. "Oh! You don't speak English right? Shoot! My bad!"

'Nada!' No! Senorita," He replied a little upset with his own self. Sixty seconds later he exited on floor 45th. She just said, "bye!"

8.33 a.m.

Finally Mark made it to a big conference room and greeted different 'big shots' directors from South Jersey; executive key investors that were already waiting for profitable answers. The PowerPoint slide projector was already on. excel graphs and diagrams were already being shown by the floor technician. PowerPoint started 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"

"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.

8.38 AM

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.


8:40 a.m.





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.

8.44 a.m.

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.

8.45 a.m.

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...


8:46:25, 8:46:26, 8;46:27

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 Virgin) in his pocket and started crying while praying in Spanish. Suddenly, the card 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, backed off and stayed on that floor.

People opened the elevator door and faced smoke and scorching flames whipping with no remorse. Some bodies were already burning. The stairwell got filled with more deadly smoke. An unknown person asked them to use the emergency steps to go down. Most could not stand the heat. The temperature below them was getting above human tolerance.

Some started making phone calls, but tried in vain. Mark commanded the crowd to go up 18 floors to the roof top. Juanita finally got her call, "Oh my God! mom. Seems that a private plane hit us by accident, but hopefully we will get out of this...this guy is already telling us to go to the top of this skyscraper. Yes! I love you too! son..." Her communication got lost.

8:53 am

Mark was going up the steps. But saw two guys coming down. They even pushed him out of the way. "What the heck 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 as well, but found that the exit gates were locked! Time was running out!

To the Top...

Mark and some colleagues, in need of fresh air, grabbed a big mahogany conference table and rammed against a solid glass window. Their attempt was successful; they cracked up a hole after three long minutes. Some were desperate and in shock. They went through the structural outside 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 mumbled, 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 breathe. But no. She started swallowing her own blood. Then miraculously... it stopped.

9:02:59 a.m.

Flight 175, United Airlines Impacts the South Tower

Now collective panic and horror took over for good... or worse. A real life inferno scene turned surreal. All they saw was chaos that mixed with smog 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 complain.

But, suddenly, a light flickered and got stronger. These desperate people felt this warm and beautiful light. What was happening? There was no explanation. All of them thought they were already physically death.

"Enough!" said a fatherly 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..!"

Their spirits got separated from their physical pain. Whenever ready, people held hands and jumped together to their death in a final-an—peaceful feeling of unfathomable freedom. Some were allowed to see their loved ones through some angelical screens. 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,
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
Lord forever.

Psalm 23


Hold My Hand...HOLD IT As Hard As You Can!


Submit a Comment
  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    5 years ago from New York

    Thanks Christina Castro for your sensitive words! Comments are important, and yours are always welcome. This story is based on true stories by the way.

  • CMCastro profile image

    Christina M. Castro 

    5 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

    Such a dramatic account of possible lives. So many went through this day's events without expectation and it did not matter who was with them. They all had to get through it together. Lord De Cross, you have such compassion for people as if you wanted to advise the characters of what to do. Thank you sharing this hub with us. I am definitely a fan.

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    7 years ago from New York

    Thanks Rachel! Memories are still raw as you said. Hope this will never happen again!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image

    Rachael O'Halloran 

    7 years ago from United States

    This was very sad. There are so many stories about that day, some told by those who lived to tell, and stories told about those who didn't live through it. The memories are still raw for everyone, but especially for survivors. It is a day most will remember for years to come, just as they remember November 22, 1963 and other memorable dates in history. I just got done researching what the workers from Ground Zero are still dealing with and their stories are sad, but in a very different way than your hub. Voted up.

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    8 years ago from New York

    Hi Melchi, Thanks for reading this hub. Is sad to remember this day...and hard to think of widows and orphan kids. We all were touched that day. Who doesn't remember what they were doing at 8:46 a.m. Is a frozen instant that changed our lives. Thanks again!

  • MelChi profile image

    Melanie Chisnall 

    8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

    Every year we remember... thank you for sharing this, you did a great job in putting together the events into a story format.

    Voted up!

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    8 years ago from New York

    Dwachira, Yeah, events like this get people together. There is no party when we feel the danger from unexpected forces. There is one heartbeat when we want to keep this Nation going.

  • dwachira profile image

    Danson Wachira 

    8 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    A dark and grey day that separated us with the loved ones but made us more stronger to conquer those who shed innocent blood. America remained stronger, the whole world remained stronger but the memories lives with us. Voted up.

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    8 years ago from New York

    Thanks Kelley; this tragic event will never go away from our memories. We just hope this never happen again. Thanks for taking your time and read our story.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I love how you combined a dream with true events. May we never forget this tragic event. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up! Kelley

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    8 years ago from New York

    I understood you Faith, the missing letter was fixed in our minds. Common sense and knowing your warm commenting gave us the real meaning afterwards. Thanks again!

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    8 years ago from southern USA

    Oops, meant "now, that was awesome . . ." not, not!!! But I know you knew what I meant. Getting too late. In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    8 years ago from New York

    Tammy! Sorry for the lateness. Well this story had so much to give. So many lives stopped at that minute. Hopefully the truth will aflore one day. Right now we just pray for the lost ones!

    @Debbie this was a strong article to write. Sure we did cry at the moment we wrote this piece of inspiration. We pray for the lives, innocent lives that were lost on that day. God bless!

    @Polly, we all know that our candidates want our votes, "read my lips." The borders fine thanks! The commander in chief shloud talk to the Mexican President and look for remedies. But they are busy at the polls. Thanks!

    @Faith Reaper, The ending gave us the chills. We felt as though we were there. As postumous research we did make it to that 107th floor back in 1989. Took us 58 seconds to reach the top floor. The elevator could hold 25 persons or more. Still cannot believe they went down! On the side you like, the scriptures came to us with no fuss. It was meant to be written the way it is. We talk to other races and learn a lot. Most likely the characters were there at a certain point. Sad!! Feel sorry for the orphans and widows. This cannot happen again. Thanks for being here. God bless you back!

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    8 years ago from southern USA

    Hi Lord - this is such a great write in so many ways, i.e., the manner in which you depict each individual or family and their own scenario ongoings, etc., but the best part, and I know my comment is not going to be like the other "how horrible" as we all know how horrible it was for these same type of scenarios for thousands, but as pertains to this particular hub, when I read the 23rd Psalm and what you put in here about "I will redeem you all." Whew, not that was awesome as awesome can be!!! Once I read that, a beautiful, beautiful peace just settled down over me, as you had spoken words of His truths. Voted Way Up into the Heavens Oh, that is not a button to click. God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • Pollyannalana profile image


    8 years ago from US

    Very good. Yet we leave our borders open and let thousands spill in with not a worry. No longer allowed to protect ourselves and no one puts up a fuss. Who is it we can trust? Lot of food for thought.

  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 

    8 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    wow awesome write my friend.. this is amazing work.. I am sharing for the world to see after I quit crying

    God Bless you

    You are awesome


  • tammyswallow profile image


    8 years ago from North Carolina

    Very touching. Goes to show that this horrific event impacted so, so many. So many lives, dreams, plans ended that day. This is sad but powerful!

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    9 years ago from New York

    Thanks Mary,

    remember..we are not here for the money, we just let our inspirations flow. This was a dream..I did research and of course the Charactets came to life. Sad they have to depart..and all of our Nation left alone to mourn. Thanks for stopping by!


  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 

    9 years ago from Florida

    Hi lord de cross, yet another beautiful piece you have written! How vividly you described the characters! You continue to amaze me. Thanks once again. Regards, Mary

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    9 years ago from New York

    The author believes, this will happen again if we let it happen. Simple! If we see something we say something. We cannot be this naive and gullible anymore. I thank you so much for the follow up. More to come in the future.


  • justateacher profile image

    LaDena Campbell 

    9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

    Once again, great writing. It's a sad thing that happened and changed our world and our view of the world forever.

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    9 years ago from New York

    Yes Leann,

    unfortunately was based on true events..and the final ending was inspired by a dream. It was scary and frantic... and seemed as though we were there.


  • profile image


    9 years ago

    This is so tragic. Is this inspired by the true story? Did you know these people? It is very well written. I hope lots of people see this.

  • Lord De Cross profile imageAUTHOR

    Joseph De Cross 

    9 years ago from New York

    Thanks for your comments whiteorchids.You said all. We cannot let this happen again. Sad story but true.


  • whiteorchids profile image


    9 years ago from Tropical Paradise

    OMG! How sad, how very very sad. We should not ever forget 09/11 and this is a reminder of what happened on that fateful. Brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, parents. Lost lives we should ever put our guard down and remember we are American we are free! Wonderful read and well written. :)The video to says it all.


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