I had found a good parking spot for my shiny red car, a secret sort of place in a small alleyway close to the Performing Arts Complex that was often blocked off for use by the people who were working there. But it was open and barely in use, just a couple of other cars, a few dumpsters, a truck parked in the shadowy back end of it. I felt pleased. My son smoothed his hands over his pants as he got out of the car; I locked it, and the lights flashed with two satisfying little beeps.

We made our way inside, a mammoth, winding conglomerate of connecting buildings, always busy with people and different events and classes and performances, very popular. As we walked quickly down a long bright hallway, carrying our respective laptop bags, we passed a biker-looking guy with two middle-aged women, a teenager carrying a cello, groups of people chattering excitedly, all on their way to something, some happening.

We arrived at a nearly-empty bowl shaped auditorium, quite early, with time to kill. My son said he was going to grab some lunch, and I told him that was a good idea, and I would see him later. I found myself a seat, pulled out a sandwich I had brought from home and my laptop, planning to eat and write while waiting. As I did, a door burst open across from me and two young policemen in brown uniforms, guns drawn, ran fast against the wall. One yelled out, never looking over, "There's a bomb in the building! Get out!" and kept going.

In these days, you don't even question or wonder. You go.

My first thought was just that, turn, go, get out, get out now. I allowed myself a second of sickening realization that I didn't know where my son was now, and could not begin to try to find him, and then let it go, within this tiny fraction of time, to believe he would make his way out. He would, he had to. And then I did what they say you should never do. I hesitated, thought, and clumsily grabbed up my computer and the bag, clutching it to me, not even putting the laptop in the bag. I hoped my few seconds of greediness wouldn't kill me. Go.

There were no screams, people were not running, but there was the same panicked look in everyone's eyes, trying to find a way out of the place that wasn't already jammed. Winding through hallways and stairways, packs of people going in every possible direction, some following others who seemed to know where to go, what to do. I found myself in the bowels of the building, in a women's locker room, along with other people standing, trying to move, looking for a door or a window. There were women, half-dressed, some with only towels and wet hair, not caring who saw them, pushing past me, past the green toilet stalls. Get out. Go. I searched the faces, when I could bear to focus on anything but how to get out. Nothing. Over some shower stalls, two heads popped up. It was a friend of mine, someone I hadn't seen for many, many years, and my son.

"Marianne! I have him, I got his stuff. He's OK." My friend smiled, my son nodded, and they disappeared back into the crowd, unreachable. My chest warmed in relief, grateful, trusting, as much as one could.

No one was getting anywhere.

I had a feeling of something falling on my hair, both light and something heavier. I reached up with my right hand, the one not stupidly still holding the bag and computer. It was chunks of plaster and plaster dust from the ceiling. Oh, god. Something had happened. The bomb must've gone off. I looked around at everyone else feeling their hair, brushing it off, standing like stunned sheep. That's it. No more. I am getting out of here, NOW. I am not going to stand here and have this goddamn building collapse on me, while I stand in some locker room with a bunch of strangers. Not me.

I pushed my way out of the crowd, went the opposite way, towards some light, along with a few others. We found a bank of windows, triple-paned glass reinforced with criss-crossing thin wire. One window opened vent-style, but not far, not big enough to get through. Further down, there was a door with the same glass. Someone said it was locked, hopeless. I went up to it, pounded and clawed at the glass uselessly, pushed on the door, leaned on it, eyes manically searching for some weak spot, some way to get it open. Outside was RIGHT THERE, a concrete plaza, looking no different than usual with some trees, birds, trash, benches, the tall city buildings surrounding it.

I tried the door handle. It opened perfectly. I didn't say a thing, didn't think. I pushed it open and ran and kept running and not once looked back. Go.

I ran across the wide plaza. Nothing seemed different. Where were all the people, cops, fire trucks, newspeople? Was no one getting out? Didn't anyone know?

I kept going until I thought I was a pretty safe distance away from the complex, and made my way into the commons area of the University, where I could see some people were gathering. In the back on a sofa were my son and his girlfriend and a few others, safe. She was draped across his lap, didn't look up. My son smiled and me and I smiled at him, something communicated like well, of course we made it. Of course. Everyone was settling in here for the duration, it seemed, a good place to be while this disaster unfolded. There would be food and shelter and warmth until all of this, whatever "this" was, had passed. A girl sitting on the floor next to the sofa typing away on her laptop pointed out an electrical outlet to me. "You should take that one now. It's going to get really busy." Right, I thought, looking down at my frozen left arm smashing my white Macbook to my stomach, still.

After I plugged in, I got out my cell phone and called home, hoping that my husband could somehow find a way to get us. I would never be allowed to get my car now, if in fact it wasn't now gone, smashed. I wasn't going to go back there now to look, or to see anything. I didn't want to see, and didn't want to know.

But he was angry with me, it was my fault that I had gone down there, never should have gone, never taken our son. Stunned and angry, I argued with him, like I could've known there would be a BOMBING today?? How could he act this way? We were alive! We had made it out alive! As the bitterness went back and forth on the phone, I began to notice something outside the big commons window facing the street. Things were beginning to fall off the tall mirrored glass building across the street. First, some ornamental pieces of the facade, one, two, three pieces, random. Then more, coming down like big slabs of rock. And then the windows began to fold inwards, imploding, collapsing, melting. It was coming down. Go.

My son and his girlfriend and friends were gone again. I whipped my head around. Where had everyone gone? This time, I didn't grab the computer.

Run, run, run, run, run keep running until there were no more tall buildings around. I need to get out of here. Making it almost to the Capitol building by the park, I reached in my jacket pocket where I had jammed my cell phone, and called home again. He picked up, and said nothing. "Can't you see what is going on here?" I said. "Can't you see it on TV? This is a major disaster! Why aren't you helping? Why are you doing this?"

He paused, and said, "Well, you wanted to take our daughter there. How do you think that would have been?"

I hung up, jammed the phone back in my pocket. Nothing seemed different. No sirens, no cries, buses rolling past, newspaper blowing down the street, tumbling in the wind.

A large black women slowly walked up the stairs of the subway, carrying a screaming toddler in a pink-and-green winter hooded jacket in a football hold. She looked up and me and grinned, saying to me, "It's always something, isn't it?" laughing as she passed by.

I would have miles to walk. I wondered who would make it back home first, me or my son. Go.

I woke, and walked downstairs, and wrote this down.