Going on 13


I was 12 years old in the fall of 2001, turning 13 in October, thank you very much. The year of J.Los "Love don't cost a thing", Destiny Child's "Survivor" and my personal favorites Nas' "oochie wally" and Outkast's "Ms.Jackson". Songs that I was singing along to, only half knowing what the adult content laced in the lyrics were about.

A Manchild, a boy aging into adulthood, That summer I remember trying weed for the first time, then a second and third time, Overhearing my 19 years old's step bothers sexual adventures in the other room whenever I slept over my dads' house, While playing Castlevania64. and I had just started listening to rap music, a style of music I felt that was created just for me. Something I can relate to, and at the time emulate too.

It was also my 7th Grade year in Kinloch Park Middle school in Miami Florida and not long after Summer break the nation would share a tragic experience in the events of September 11th.

If asked to think back, I can't recall much.

I remember where... Where I was.

Ms. Stark's social studies class, I remember because at 12 I was particularly fond of social studies (and maybe fond of Ms.stark ) and also pretty dope at it, plus there was this one time I made a joke referencing O.J. Simpson and Ms. Stark Didn't think it was funny on account that she knew the Simpson family personally.

Regardless, That morning the jokes faded as I watched her run over to turn the t.v. on, She had to tiptoe i think, I remember the t.v. being positioned high on one of those anchor wall mount stands, except that this was 2001 and this had a boob tube type t.v. on it.

We all just watched our mock "Scorpion" News in homeroom, a period or two earlier. The Channel was already broadcasting the real news and the ticker on the bottom confirmed that the 1st twin tower had just been hit.

I remember thinking that for a brief moment this was a trailer for a game or a new movie, I had no idea that the event unfolding before my eyes on this middle school television set would be a crucial moment in U.S. history.

My thoughts went from movie and game trailers to horror as we watched the second tower get attacked by the second plane in real time. I remember feeling great sadness, something that by that age I was becoming increasingly familiar l with.

There we were a 7th-grade middle school class baptized en masse by a national tragedy. I sat there frozen half shocked and half unphased as I was already becoming desensitized thanks to the constant gruesome news headlines and personal turmoil.

I have no recollection of my teachers reaction, but what I do remember is that soon after the news we were all quietly lined up and heading toward the schools' assembly room. A cold, grey and blue circular room filled with seats and rows that were at a slight decline, the center of the assembly area was empty, however, for school dances, plays, wrestling matches,, or even freestyle competitions that were held, Days earlier I said something about it looking like a miniature roman colosseum , but lacking the grandeur, or you know general "dopeness."

They managed to get the whole school student body in there calmly. This was a huge deal, I'm talking about thousands of middle-schoolers in Miami Dade hormones raging and all, together in a giant room without fighting or disruption.

I remember sitting there with friends waiting to get picked up by our parents because the school was basically let out early, and waited we did, we talked amongst ourselves, not just of the horrible attacks that we just witnessed, but also of 13-year-old boy things, like pokemon, and girls, and rap,

Maybe we were in denial or maybe we were holding on to the last of our semi-innocence.