Just before 9:00 A.M. on September 11, Toral is in her room getting ready for Expository Writing when she hears a buzz.
“That plane is awfully close to—" Toral's roommate never finishes the sentence, and a loud boom fills lower Manhattan. The girls see the smoke and observe people below their West Village window craning their necks upward. Even after the second plane hits several minutes later, Toral continues to ready herself for class.
Class, of course, is canceled, as it remains for the next three days. There are frantic calls from Mom and Dad, but Toral, as scared as she is, stays in the city until the weekend. She buys disposable cameras;the film developer can process the images quicker than she can. She tries to make sense of it along with the other college freshmen, who are urged to attend counseling sessions and floor meetings to discuss their feelings. Some leave the city;others vow to stay. She hears from some Sikh classmates