september 11, 2008

After I get on the train in the morning to go to work, the train goes underneath the Hudson River, and arrives in Manhattan. To enter the World Trade Center PATH station, the train must first pass through an open air section of tracks inside the pit at ground zero. Normally, this is a good view of the site and construction work going on there, but few people on the train pay it any attention.

This morning when I boarded the train, the crowds and the hustle and bustle were as normal. The train car was jam-packed with people chatting, listening to ipods, rustling newspapers and generally shuffling around. The moment my train car hit the open tracks inside the WTC site, everything went completely silent.

Every person in it stopped moving, stopped talking, stopped rustling newspapers and stopped listening to their music. All eyes turned toward the windows. Nobody moved. The silence was overwhelming. When we passed back inside toward the station, still not a single person made a sound. Some heads kept staring at the dark window and some looked toward the ground. And it was still completely silent.

The train ground to a halt and the doors didn't open right away. A moment later, the ding sounded and the doors burst open. As though a switch had been flipped, the commute went back to normal. People pushed and shoved out of the car, talking, rustling, walking, hurrying. As though nothing had happened. All those who shared a brief moment of silence in a train car during a busy commute had dissipated into the crowd.

1 comments:

mo*reezy said...

thank you so much for sharing this, A. What an uncommon moment in NYC, silence.

I know we've had lots to think about here lately, but I couldn't believe it today, that it was noon before I realized it was September 11th. Very strange.

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