I’ve almost never spoken about it. I certainly never spoke about it publicly.
Personally, that day was a mile-marker. It marked the beginning of a massive spiral downward. My life hit it’s lowest point ever nearly a year and many substantial events later. I gave up – on myself and everybody else too… and I really fucked my life up. I don’t know if I can blame that day alone – but it is an irrevocable part of the whole story to be sure.
I was here, in Manhattan, and watched it from the window of my apartment. My wife watched too, saw them fall, from her rooftop, though back in 2001 – though she and I had yet to meet.
I slept in that morning, on the pull-out bed Jennifer Convertibles leather sofa that filled most of my studio apartment, 49B.
I heard sirens pass by outside – not an unfamiliar sound. They didn’t stop and kept going, and going until I abandoned my cozy bed and got up to look out the window and take a leak.
I didn’t see anything right away, but checked my email and saw an ABC Breaking News Alert in my inbox. “Small plane may have flown into World Trade Center…”
I stood on my tub and looked out the bathroom window where I could get a good sight line downtown. I could see plumes of smoke rising.
I flipped on the TV, and by then the second one had hit.
I alternately paced back and forth from the TV to my bathroom window.
I saw the first one fall on live TV.
The next day, Wednesday, I walked down as far as they’d let me and stood with crowds and we applauded the crews exiting the site.
We smelled that smell together. I won’t even try to describe it. It lingered for weeks maybe months. Sometimes I still smell it.
– Photo: Charley and friends at Christmas Party. Windows on the World, World Trade Center Tower One, Top Floor.