Bees on the Rooftop
“Clara! Clara come here!”
My ears perk up like a puppy, and I run across the hardwood floors of our small Brooklyn apartment. I enter the living room, expecting a surprise. But my smile soon fades into a look of confusion. Sitting like a statue in front of the television is my dad, with a look of utter shock. But, why did he call me in here? After realizing that this is not the surprise I was hoping for, I glance over at the TV, and what I saw remains fresh in my memory. Explosions and burning flames. I started to hear sirens everywhere, both on the TV and zooming by on the street. I was starting to get very scared. I whined, half in fear and half in annoyance, telling daddy to change the channel to my beloved Dora the Explorer. I looked up at him, questioning why he would play such a mean trick on me. But he was already on the phone, frantically talking to mommy, as he paced the room in circles. I kept looking back at the TV full of smoke and flames, and I wanted to make them stop, but they just kept growing. Daddy glanced down at me while still on the phone, as if he was just realizing I was there. Was I invisible?
He soon hung up, and took my small hand. We walked over to a tall, metal ladder that led to the roof-top of the building. “Come on, get on Daddy’s back. Hold on like a monkey”. I did not question this decision, and happily clung onto his back as we climbed each rung. Maybe if I scrunched up my eyes tight enough, the flames would fade away.
We reached the top, and I lifted my head from my Dad’s shoulder. I can only describe it like a painting. Deep smoke, viciously smeared across a brilliant blue sky. But it was not a pretty painting. It was out of place, and unsettling. I would have never thought that hidden underneath the mask of grayness were two destroyed towers. Within a few seconds of standing there, I was rudely surprised by several bees swarming at my feet. Our neighbor kept bees on the rooftop, and I remember always being very concerned by them. I soon lost interest in the gray, dull smoke. The unwelcome visit of the bees made me wander over to the edge of the roof. I leaned over, with no sense of danger, and no parent to pull me away, and calmly looked down at the street far below. In the corner of my eye, I saw that my Dad had the video camera out. I will never forget the image of him standing there, as bees swarmed around his ankles. It was as if he was frozen in his own little world. A world too real for me to understand. He did not move or talk, the only sounds being the distant sirens and faint humming of the bees. He just stood there and filmed. "Why would he want to film smoke?" I wondered to myself. I walked over, peering into the grayness, trying so desperately to see what it had to offer, but all I saw was a cloud of darkness. I was positive I was missing some magical piece that would suddenly make the grayness fascinating. Surely I was more interesting to film than this! But I accepted that this must be grown up stuff, and I wandered back over to the edge of the roof, peering down again at the pavement streets and the occasional yellow taxi. I felt like screaming down to each taxi I saw, just to ask them what all of the smoke was for. Maybe a giant blew out his birthday cake candles….
My only worry while up on that roof was if I could get ice cream later, like I had been promised earlier that day. Ice cream would certainly make the fire and angry bees go away! I thought of all of the flavors I could get, contemplating whether or not I should get sprinkles. I would later find out that the ice cream store would be closed, along with many other stores in the city.
After what seemed like an eternity, we went back down to the apartment, and I was granted my wish of watching Dora. Everything was back to normal, the smoke and fire just a slight hiccup in my day. Little did I know that I had just witnessed the most horrific terrorist act in American history.