9/11 Monologue

7:26 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)


This is a monologue from Co-Op Theatre East's workshop of What to Do In Case You Miss the Rapture, last May. 

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Too Old for Fairy Tales
By Ashley Marinaccio

I’ll never forget the image of those people jumping from Tower 1 – the falling man, the couple that held hands as they made their final descent. I was 11 and went to school five blocks north of the towers. During the evacuation the lunch lady covered by eyes – but even from a mile north – I swore I saw my parents falling. I yelled “That’s Daddy!” and started running toward the burning towers.  Everything went blurry and I thought of Ms. Stocky, my Sunday school teacher – who told me all the Rapture at Sunday school only two days before.  I swore this was it – those people jumping were on their way to being raptured. I broke away from the rest of the shaken sobbing sixth graders and prayed “Now! Jesus! Now! Rapture them now so they won’t hit the ground and die.”

This was it. I was experiencing The Rapture because a truly loving God would have never let all those innocent people hit the ground.

Ms. Luck grabbed me by the wrist covered my face with her hand and yelled “Don’t look back”. “But Ms. Luck, I have to” I cried, “If I don’t look now, I may miss mum and dad being raptured. They’ve been waiting for this moment their entire lives.” I had never seen anyone turn so pale. At the time I thought it was because we had just run from Chambers to Canal street in under ten minutes, and that kind of workout would turn anyone pale.  Maybe this wasn’t the Rapture after all. Maybe it was Sodom and Gomorrah and if I look back, I will turn to salt.  

My parents were obliterated in the towers. Dad worked in Tower 1 and mum worked in Tower 2. When I imagine their last moments it involves a surprise trip that lead to Dad being in Tower 2 bringing my mother roses as an early gift for their anniversary. After 20 years of marriage, I imagined them grabbing hands and running to the window of 104 to spend eternity together. By eternity – I don’t mean to suggest that my parents jumped. No, Jesus grabbed them. He raptured them up. While we watched all those people falling, my parents were part of the lucky few that were spared the jet fuel, the fire, the heat, and the collapse. They were taken up… in the rapture that happened on September 11th, 2001.

For years my sister I would visit ground zero to see the lights. I dreamt of being sucked up into them – like a vacuum, and taken up through the clouds to see my parents. I imagined the lights were a vortex that could teleport me…. No, wait, rapture me up to where mum and dad were waiting. The lights were the gateway, and if I didn’t get inside them, I’d have to wait an entire year for my next chance.

In 2004, workers recovered a piece of femur which DNA tests later connected to my father. It was found amongst dust and stone on the roof of the Duetshe Bank building a few blocks south. For my family, this 3 ounce piece of bone provided the closure that they need to move on. For me, it opened the office door to various psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and an extended stay at Bellevue after the NYPD pulled me off a ledge.

To this day my mother is listed officially as “missing”. On those days where the pills don’t have complete control I imagine her in a business suit and fancy shoes, being raptured up out of tower 2 before anything could happen. I can see her face and how excited she must have been, knowing that she was finally going to see Jesus. I think about how happy she would feel that her husband was with her, by her side always. I dream that one day all of us will be together again.  

But the pills are there to remind me that I’m too old to believe in fairy tales. 

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