The noise. The smoke. The confusion. The need to get away. Every time.
I left the building. On the street, I could see paper. Paper was floating down. Burned paper. Presentations. Printing instructions. Manuals. Trade tickets. Paper from the towers.
I looked up at the towers. I could see them clearly, both surrounded by a lot of smoke.
Then I saw a dot fall from the North Tower. And another. Another. I realized what they were. People. People who had gotten to the point of having two choices. A choice of death by fire or death by jumping. I lost count after fifteen.
The streets were full of people, going back and forth, no single direction. Cars were abandoned in the streets. I remember being amused (!) at the sight of an abandoned UPS truck with it's back door open. Nobody was going to be looting anything today.
I went towards a subway station, the #2 and 3 line on Wall Street. It was a mob scene, no way I was going to get in that subway.
Looking at the towers, looking at the smoke, looking at the people falling, I proceeded on automatic pilot to the next nearest subway stop. I am, to this day, not even certain where I was. But I went down, to the 1 & 9 line. I swiped my Metro card (it worked!), and went to the platform. A half-empty train came shortly thereafter, going uptown.
We pulled into the stop under the World Trade Center. It was empty. It was silent. The doors opened. Then we heard the noise, the noise of a mighty wind (no movie jokes, please), the sound of a dozen jet engines, a hundred thundering locomotives. We thought there was another attack. People started screaming, "Go! Go!" and the doors closed and we pulled out of the station.
Then the end. Things loop back in time and the dream goes from what happened that day to the real nightmare of what happened to others.
Somehow I am in the lobby of the South Tower. There is nobody around. There is no noise except for the occasional "thud". I have to get out. I know what has happened, I know what will happen next. I have to get out.
Then the noise comes. As with what really happened, the noise of a wind. The building crashes down around me, choking me in dust and debris.
I am trapped, unable to move, waist-deep in the debris, waiting for more to fall.
I wake up, sweating and shaking from a dream, from nightmare where I was trapped up to my waist in debris, as the world exploded around me.
The dream is always the same.