On the night of Sept. 10th, I was having trouble sleeping. I don't remember why, I just was.
Sometime around 3 AM, I decided that I wasn't going to be able to sleep, so I decided to get up, get ready for school, and go to Denny's to commandeer a large booth at which I would correct a massive stack of papers and eat a massive breakfast.
It was very quiet when I got there, and still dark out. As the sun struggled up, and I had begun to make a dent in both my stack of papers and my stack of pancakes, the restaurant gradually filled with a variety of people who had just begun their day. A man of about my age sat down in the booth facing me. I hunched over my papers so as not to get caught in any small talk, seeing as how that would take focus away from the task at hand. Besides, I am not at all a morning person. I hate talking at that hour.
I noticed the man checking and re-checking his cell phone impatiently, as if he had been stood up.
Then, I guess around 6 AM, a group of students from UCR came in, leading a line of new fraternity pledges who had apparently been kidnapped for breakfast. They were dressed in bathrobes and slippers and all were having a good, loud time.
Shortly after they were seated, a guy rushed in and sat down with the man across from me. "You'll never believe why I was late," he said, and began telling his friend about the attack.
I listened for a bit and then, paying my bill, got in my car and turned on the radio and heard Rick Dees sharing the news as he got it, punctuating it with comments like "Moments like this are what I have trained my whole life for."
I drove home, which wasn't far, to turn on the news and see what was happening. I got there just as the second tower had started to fall. Like many, I couldn't turn the TV off and was almost late to work.