Her Own Story

Salon has an article by Alissa Torres, a 9/11 widow:

[In] the absence of concrete facts about how my husband died, I created my own story ... Here's how I see it: Eddie looks out the window into a clear-blue sky, the kind of view you only 911ChrisHondros:Gettysee on postcards, and he smiles at the view he will now enjoy every day. A plane zooms into the frame -- cut to Mohammed Atta, the pilot, almost the same age as Eddie, as the plane dips slightly and crashes into the building a few floors below. Lights flicker out. Screams. The tower trembles.

A woman cowers under a desk on the floor as crowds trample toward the nearest stairwell. "You can't stay here," Eddie says in a calm voice, helping her to her feet. "Come with me. It'll be OK." They run together from stairwell to stairwell, but it's too congested, the air is getting thick with smoke, the heat is unbearable. Instead, Eddie breaks a window and they stand there, holding hands, contemplating the fall below. Maybe he thinks of me. Maybe he thinks of everyone he loved. "This'll be just like skydiving," he says.

They kiss and jump together. Shock of the blue sky and then: The screen goes black.

I put this story together over time, based on what I knew, what I speculated based on Eddie, and, of course, what I hoped. Since I was already embellishing the story -- before I imagined the best that could happen, I certainly entertained the worst -- why not add something sweet to lessen the horror? But even this has been hard to hold on to when, deep down, I knew it couldn't be true. Even factors like whether or not Eddie jumped. For a long time, it seemed so certain, but even that theory fogged over with doubt. These days, I don't even ask.

(Photo: a photo of a 9/11 victim - not Eddie - by Chris Hondros/Getty.)