Busy morning, all knees and elbows. Packed tight like a can of ravioli, all over each other and an unnatural smell. Retinas burn as we slice through the cloud cover catch the suns first rays. Rather beautiful actually, at this height the world seems peaceful.
Speakers crackle, a disembodied voice informs us we will be putting down in Atlanta, unscheduled. Please disembark and await further instructions. Out the tunnel into the terminal, people buzzing like bees, cell phones attached to every ear. A television catches my eye and I watch something explode into a building. The television goes black and we are left to wonder.
All circuits are busy now. All circuits are busy. My secretary finally, let my wife know I am safe and get me a car. All circuits are busy...
Someone blew up New York...They took out buildings...Can you get through...We are at war...
Thousands of people walk aimless, without purpose. Castaways on an island, cut off from the world. People everywhere, slumping against walls, dialing numbers, standing in line in hopes of a way off the island. Every scrap of news shared with huddled masses, some true. Hours pass.
Conveyors start, belching an endless line of luggage. Straddling the river, we grab bags and build mountains of suitcases. Mine is not here, each one a step closer, each one bringing relief to someone. New friends are made amidst the chaos, watching out for each other. Sweat pooling on our lips means we are still here, still alive. There have been more attacks.
All those people...in the buildings. Tears. Yes honey, I am here. I love you. I will talk to you when I can get through again and be home when I can. Tears. How could this happen? Tears.
Hours. My number is called, a car. Anyone going to Columbus? No suitcase, I had given up. Maslow...the need to get out of the walls, to breathe, trumps the need for clothing. Walmart closed for curfew, guess this suit will do. Keys in hand walking toward the door, far from home, into a world that seems so different.
Rising out of the bowels, the grey bag slides down onto the conveyor. Hands grabbing to shift it to the pile. Thanks, I'll take that. It's mine. The first smile of the day, I stride for the door, suitcase in hand, happy to have it. A small piece of home in troubled times goes a long way.
For all those that lost loved ones on 9.11.01, my story seems trite. My heart goes out to you as your piece of home never came.