Tale of Two Pictures
At a friend's housewarming back in 1993, Cecilia Lillo paged through a wedding album and spotted a familiar face in the group pictures. Years earlier, back in high school, Carlos Lillo had been a gymnast and a baseball player, the handsome older boy who dated a girl in her homeroom.
Now he was a paramedic in Queens and she was working for the Port Authority at the World Trade Center. They resisted being set up, until a party on New Year's Eve of 1997. They talked in a cafe until 7 the next morning. They bought a house together in Babylon in 1999. She finished her degree at Baruch. He worked extra shifts on private ambulances to save for a new fence and a pool. In April, they married. She is 35; he was 37. Even after being together four years, he had kept her e-mail valentines.
"He was very romantic. We had our candlelight dinners at home, we used to act silly," Ms. Lillo said. "He wanted us to go to Disney World. I said, 'Let's wait until we have kids.' " They had an appointment with a fertility doctor for this week.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Ms. Lillo escaped from her office in 1 World Trade Center, just as the building collapsed. "Then I saw an article in Newsweek, and his picture was there," she said. "He was helping someone."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 2, 2001.