Priscilla Tirado, 23, became the haunting image of the crash: the cold-crippled woman in the water struggling helplessly until Lenny Skutnik dove to her aid.
Today she lives near her father in Clearwater, Fla., physically mended but biding time with her life. Her husband and 2-month-old son died in the crash.
"I've bought a car and I've been everywhere around Clearwater," she says. "I've had it seven months and put 7,000 miles on it . . . . Mostly I go shopping."
After long days in the stores, she says, she feels pain where her legs were broken in the crash. She also has mornings when she wakes "exhausted . . . like I've been through it again . . . . Maybe in my subconscious."
Sometimes, she says, something will happen and she'll hear the sound as Flight 90 strikes the 14th Street bridge: "a hard sound" but not like an explosion or "anything you hear on TV . . . . I can't describe it. But I can hear it in my head."
She no longer cares for winter. "When it gets just a little chilly, my feet just freeze," she says. "I won't let myself get cold anymore. I don't want to come back to Washington when it's cold."
Otherwise, the year has been a grab bag of memories: a visit in the hospital from Nancy Reagan ("a little tiny woman . . . little thin wrists") and hundreds of letters "straight from the heart" from schoolchildren and "people I don't even know." Weird letters and calls--one from "some woman, really macabre. She wanted my husband and my baby's body to hold on to. To bring them back to life."
"I don't know if I've really changed. A lot of people ask me that. I don't know what to tell them . . . . I try not to let it all show. If I'm going to cry, I do it by myself." She pauses during a telephone conversation. "I don't really want to talk about this anymore," she says softly. "I think it's time to hang up." CAPTION: Picture, Priscilla Tirado, Copyright (c) Photo by Tracie Rozhon