Late For Work – A Short Story

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I hate being late for work, but once again this damn train is delayed.

It’s bad enough that I have to take a bus just to get to a train that is always jammed packed, but how many sick passengers occur in an a given week? Not even hearing Jay Z in my headphones could hide the sheer frustration of this strap hanger.

It’s not that I don’t plan my time well. I always catch BX.39 early enough to catch the express 6 train in Parkchester that takes me to 125th street where I catch the downtown 4 train. As always, it’s packed with people going to work and school and I normally find myself in near prayer just make it to work on time.

However, today I could care less. While I hate being late for work, I cannot stand my job and I spent the majority of last night typing my resignation letter. I feel very fortunate to have found another job on the Upper East Side. I just cannot wait to finally hand this in to my boss but, of course, the train had to be delayed for 30 minutes.

What makes it worse is that I have get off at Wall St which makes this Bronx to Manhattan commute a nightmare. I race up the subway stairs once my train finally arrives. It is already 8:45 and I have a meeting at 9am that I now need to rush for.

Wait. What was that noise? I look up.

Oh. My. God.

Why is the World Trade Center on fire?

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This is a story I wrote a few years ago that I thought I lost. I found it while searching for something else a few months back. I edited it yesterday. I wanted to contribute something to this day that is still fresh in my memory. 

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12 Years Later, I’m still Fortunate.

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I’ve always been short with words on this day. I feel that my words never do justice to the events of 12 years ago. When I got up this morning, I was quickly reminded of what day it was. While I’m no longer somber about this day, I always make sure I have some time to reflect on my own life.

On this day, I try not to dwell on the many wars that have taken place since or the many Arab lives that have been taken so that we, as a country, can feel better about our losses. Instead I reflect on the fact the fact that I am very fortunate to have the life that I have. I’ve mentioned that had I been any later to work on that day, who knows what would have happened. My step mother worked in that area and it just so happened she was not there that day. Two of my friends worked there as well and they both got out. Very fortune.

Yet, I did know one person, a fire fighter, who died while trying to save people. Steve Mercado was a guy that I looked up to as a kid. Someone who always took the lead in situations that no one really wanted to. His memory will always be honored and immortalized by his family and by the stickball league in the Bronx he helped maintain.

So what does all this mean to me? What is my takeaway from all of this? The one thing that I’ve noticed, and it may sound funny, silly, or maybe just unexpected, is that I can say I love you to my friends and family so much easier now than I could before 9/11. Those words have more of an impact and more of a meaning to me. This was something I never really said, especially to my male friends and relatives. Perhaps it was some form of homophobic barrier that I was not aware of but I can also say it to woman friends too without being uncomfortable or giving the wrong impression.

The point is that I realized on that day how quickly anyone of us can be snuffed out. Sure, I can talk all day about our youth being killed on the streets of Chicago, or the victims of police brutality, or teenagers with hoodies who had someone “stand their ground” but our worlds were changed forever 12 years ago. Whatever naivety we had is gone because we know what its like to be on the other end of an attack and as much as I want call bullshit on every last war we had since (as well as the one in Syria we are about to have), on this day all I can think about is how fortunate I am to even be writing this.

I have few close friends, many acquaintances, tons of former students, twitter followers, and family. Twelve years ago, when I finally left work, and stepped out on to Wall Street, I knew my life had changed and it was then that I realized I haven’t done enough in my life. Now, I’m still working on doing something and I’m just glad that I know as many people as I do. I’m very fortunate to have the friends that I have and very lucky to share my thoughts with the rest of you.