#63 | Tuesday, September 18th 2001
I was asleep. I woke up around 11 a.m. Hawaii Time (I live at Pearl Harbor), which by then was 5 p.m. EST. I checked my cell phone for any messages from my husband, who was supposed to call me that morning about errands we were due to run later that day.

He had left the following message on my phone at about 9 a.m. local time, which made no sense to me the first time I listened to it:

"Hi honey, it's me. Hopefully by the time you get this message you'll have seen the news. Everything is okay here. I think it would be best if you got in the car and drove down to Ala Moana [mall] -- get away from the airport and the base. I should be home at the usual time, but things are really busy here right now. I love you."

Confused and already scared out of my mind, I darted upstairs and turned my computer on. I went straight to CNN.com.

I never want to feel again the way I felt when I saw that front page. I don't even remember the exact headline anymore, but by the time I logged on the whole world knew it was a massive terrorist attack, and nobody knew if there were more coming. That was essentially what the headline conveyed.

Cliche as it sounds, I really felt like I was in a nightmare. Like I had been bound up in a layer of tangled gauze from which there was no escape. Nothing would come into focus. What the hell was going on? Was this it, the end of the world? Were nuclears bombs about to start raining down?

I sat in front of my computer for a good two or three minutes, too stunned to do anything. Then some sort of survival instinct took over and I ran to the bedroom, stumbled out of my pajamas and pulled on some clean clothes. I wasn't quite ready to follow my husband's advice and flee the house, but I wanted to be ready if I needed to be ready. I still feel like I'm stuck in that moment.

jess kilby | 26 | Hawaii

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