69 pages • 2 hours readWendy Mills
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Alia describes the unspeakably terrifying sound of the other tower imploding and the roar as “[…] the entire building just falls” (321). Travis pushes her to the floor and draws Alia’s face against his chest to protect her from the engulfing smoke; she clings to him with all her strength. Alia comes to the realization that she is not a superhero, and that her survival is contingent upon her ability to walk down hundreds of steps. Travis, dazed, says that “Gramps always used to say that they [the Towers] would never fall” (322).
It is Travis who realizes that the Tower that the pair occupy is in danger of falling as well, and tries to wet Alia’s hijab to shield her face from the overwhelming smoke. When she refuses, he wets her shirt and instructs her to use it as a shield, telling her “We’re going to get out of here alive, okay?” (323). The narrative has come full circle at this point, returning to the moment of dialogue between the two that opens the book.