Where were you?

That question will be asked to our generation for the next fifty years.

Where were you?

I know where I was.

It was the worst day of my life.

My mother woke me up in our Queens apartment early that morning. She let me skip school. We went out to breakfast and she let me get ice cream on my waffles, even though it was only nine in the morning.

My father wasn't around any more; he left. Him and my mom didn't get along, but he wasn't a bad guy. He gave child support and sent me a birthday present every year. But he wasn't around. It was just my mom and I.

After breakfast we hopped on the subway and went to the zoo in the Bronx. I liked the Pandas she liked the polar bears.

We went home for lunch and my mom made me grilled cheese. When she gave it to me, she sat down, and looked at me very seriously. "Autumn," that was my name, "Autumn, Mommy… Mommy is very sick." She told me. I was little, only seven; I didn't understand.

"Do you feel warm?" I asked, putting the back of my hand to her forehead, like she does for me when I'm sick.

"No, sweaty. Not like that. I'm a different kind of sick."

"Are you going to be okay?" It was only my mom and I, she had to be okay. I was only seven.

"I don't know, sweetie, I don't know." My mother took my hand and looked at me. She never sugar coated or bull shitted anything, no matter how old you were she told you the truth, no matter how hard.

She knew I still didn't understand what was happening; all I knew is that I might lose my mother. I couldn't lose my mother. She was strong and brave and beautiful. I couldn't lose her.

Upset, confused, distraught; I did the only thing a seven year old could do at the time. I went to the living room and watched TV.

And when I did I saw something no seven year old should ever be exposed to. Something horrible, evil, and scaring.

I watched as one building burned to the ground as a plain flew into a second one.

I watched it live.

I knew those building. My friend Drew's mother worked in the first building. On one of the top floors. Today was her last day. She was nine months pregnant.

I went to the window and watched smoke curl across the Manhattan skyline, into Queens. My mother came into the room, saw what happened and held me. We both cried.

An hour later we go the call. Drew's mother had been in the building at the time. She was dead. Instant annihilation. There were no remains. A week later at the funeral, they buried and empty coffin, with only a picture of Drew's mom and a sonogram picture of the baby girl who was due in three weeks.

Drew sat by his father, both in black tuxedos, and both crying. I couldn't help but cry too. For my friend's loss, but also because in a few months, I might be the one sitting in a black dress crying because I lost my mother.

I couldn't lose my mother, she was all I had. And I was only seven.

That's where I was. Where were you?

Drew's father never remarried or had any more kids. Their lives went on, because that's what life does. It kicks you in the ass, and makes you stand back up on your own. And it can kick you hard, leaving you down for days, weeks, even months at a time. Because life is self-righteous bitch. But you can't let it keep you down, because things get better.

And things got better for me. Hey, I can proudly say that my mom is five-year breast cancer survivor.