Saturday, August 3rd, massacre in El Paso kills 20.
Sunday, August 4th, shooting in Dayton kills 10.
Tuesday, August 6th, 9:30 pm we wiggled our way out of our last Broadway musical.
9:31 Walked by an inviting restaurant. 9:32 I suggested to her to stop for dinner. She refused and said she preferred to go back to the hotel and rest. 9:33 We reached the end of the block and I told her “Just a moment! Come here and take a look at this. Aren’t those lights on Times Square so beautiful? So much life! All these people walking, music and food everywhere, I love this! Take a look and remember this trip. It was a good one, I had so much fun with you, I think it was a great idea to do this trip just the two of us. I love you.” And I kissed her face and her shoulder while she was trying to go. 9:34 we were waiting to cross the street. 9:34.5 There were several screams of terror and the word SHOOTING!! coming from everywhere.
What? I asked. “SHOOTING” she said. And we started to run to cross the street arriving to the next curb with tons of people trying to escape. I was holding her elbow but a mass of bodies broke us apart. I saw her pink hair ahead of me. I was trying to cut through and I saw her pink hair again, and then I didn’t see her anymore…
In a fraction of second I had lost her. My eyes could not believe my failure. I had lost my child. My deep call for her name went out mixed with hundreds of other voices and cries. I called for her louder and louder with a pain that you only know if you have lost a child before. As I looked down at the man on the ground I saw she had fallen over him where everyone else was pushing and running. She saw me and screamed “MOM!” I grabbed her wrist lifting her from the ground saying “Let’s go! Keep running!”
“Mom, I broke my phone, dad will be mad at me. ” “That’s not important, keep running” I said. “Mom, look at my finger, I think I broke it.” “We can fix it when we get back home, keep running Ceci.”
Her elbows were bleeding, her “broken finger” was bent backwards. She was crying and I kept holding her wrist as we passed by people on the ground, abandoned suitcases on the sidewalk, lots and lots of screaming, older people without direction, children crying. Police officers appeared running from everywhere and screaming to the crowd “GET INSIDE” hoping that they would seek protection in the buildings. So fast, everything was so fast. Sirens, screams and cries. And we kept running till we reached the corner and turned, meeting with a dining crowd coming out of restaurants to see what was going on.
A lady stopped us to ask what was going on. We said “shooting on Times Square, everybody is running, people are falling and more people are running over them.” She put her hands on her head and said “WHAAAT????” Her friend joined her for more questions but we kept going, now walking and trying to breathe so hard and getting no air, chest became hard and painful while I felt a deep stabbing pain in my head. A few more steps ahead of us there was a hotel security man who offered us an open door. He gave us a towel and showed us the way to the bathroom to wash and clean up.
She told me she didn’t want to leave because the shooting could be outside this place now, but I insisted that we had left hell a couple of blocks behind. We never looked back, there was no room to look back. Four or five people per square foot, you either move forward or become victim of the stampede.
Finally at our hotel. She cried and I texted our family back home. After a shower we both laid down in bed not being able to sleep. I put my head on her shoulder, hugged her and started crying imagining how terrible it had been losing her for a second , but how much worse would be to lose her forever.
People were hurt on the streets, some were transported to the hospitals. There was no shooting we learned later, it was a motorcycle backfiring that had made the loud sound. Today in America if a fork falls on the floor everyone jumps. Nightmares became reality. Who is going to help you when they come for you?