Sunday, 11 September 2011

Where were you on 9/11?

I was at the gym. This was my routine in 2001: wake at 5.15am, dress and drive to peasants' gym (I couldn't afford the cost of the ruling-class gym), arrive at 5.30am. It's still dark. The gym, a cold and uninviting space located in a disused factory, is opened by a part-time uni student. He is underpaid and not too concerned that he's 15 minutes late. 

Once inside, I start my routine and hop onto the stationary bike while the uni student fiddles with the remote control that activates two wall-mounted TVs. 

And there it is, a vision so terrifying that it takes a couple of minutes for anything to sink in. What is this? Is it for real? As news reporters confirm that we're not watching some ridiculous stunt, the two of us look on, horrified, as New York's Twin Towers collapse in a pile of 'stuff' that seems to evaporate into gigantic billowing clouds and monstrous licking flames before our eyes. 

This scene is repeated over and over and over again for the benefit of Sydneysiders who've just woken up to a brand new day. 

I don't have a mobile phone. So, I go through the motions. What else can I do? I watch the TV as I do my weights workout. 

I recall that I'd gone to the top floor of the World Trade Center in 1990 and stood mesmerised by the breathtaking views over Manhattan. 

At 6.30am I arrive home and wake everyone up, though Spanner's already up and blissfully unaware of the horrific events that took place while we were sleeping. I flick on the TV and we watch the World Trade Center implode again and again. 

And still, 10 years on I watch horrified as that gut-wrenching moment is replayed. 

My heart is with all those who lost someone in 9/11 and my thoughts are with those who continue to live with the nightmare. 

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