Today marks the anniversary of the marathon bombings of 2013 in Boston. I think that it is a sensitive topic for everyone around here. The 2014 marathon looms in the distance and the city is filled with hope for a successful day.
I have only ever lived in Boston so I can only speak to the Boston community that I know, but it is beaded together extremely tightly like no community I have ever experienced….
Last year, having an emergency with a client at work, I bee lined to work on Monday morning in order to be able to help the client. After finishing the therapy session, I began to drive home via Newton. I soon received a phone call from my best friend, a Boston native, in his medical internship in CA. “Where are you?! There’s bombs going off in the center of the city in Copley!” I’m in the car, I’m okay…I stated.
My phone started filling with texts and calls as people attempted to discern where I was. My friend started to head down to Copley to find our other friend who had just moved from California and was panicking. I urged her not to and prayed she stayed put not knowing what was happening. Over the days that followed, loved ones from England, to Brazil, to all over the county contacted me to check on my wellbeing and what was happening. It is a sad but powerful thing that crisis binds people together.
I scampered back to my house to get my then 3 month old puppy as soon as I heard that bombs were going off but could not even get to my home. With twitter rumors flying (the one time twitter was both extremely helpful and my worst enemy) that there were bombs planted all over the city, the BPD rightfully shut down the corner of the city that I live in. I worried I’d never see the dog again and contemplated parking miles out of the city and walking back through the back roads. My mother told me to leave the city immediately after getting the dog and my father, the calm one who has weathered every Boston and DC crisis since the 60’s, told me to head home….in a true Boston manner, he clearly does not negotiate with terrorists (he opened his business downtown every day during the marathon bombing crisis, even when Tsarnaev was on the run…) Being stuck on a random road in Newton with all roads backed up in sight, I went…to the gym. Of all places, the gym? It was the only place nearby and outside the city. I walked on the treadmill for hours watching the TV and monitoring the situation…my heart was pounding and the stress in the city was mounting as everyone tried to make sense of the situation.
The days after were surreal. What was happening? How did this happen? Who did this? Why Boston? Why a child? Why young students? Why people who were really living and conquering their dreams and goals (a whole marathon! studying abroad from China so far from home!) Not being a news person, I was glued to the television and twitter constantly. I cried for Boston. I cried for people all over the world who live their everyday life wondering whether they will be bombed or killed (this took me back to my study abroad in Palestine and walking through checkpoints constantly)….the immense loss felt all over the city was astounding.
Falling asleep Thursday evening, the city began to get back in the swing of things. Waking up at 2am for water, I made the mistake of reading twitter and was horrified and what I had saw….less than a mile from my house there was a ‘young 19 year old’ who had gone to a local and well known public school (Cambridge Ringe and Latin) on the loose who was accused of the bombings along with his brother. I couldn’t leave the house for 20 hours. iPhone ordered me to “shelter in place”. My friends who work at BC couldn’t let any of the undergraduates leave the dorm and shuttled them sandwiches and waters. My dog had to hold her pee till she finally peed on the floor. And every time their was a news conference, an idiot that was not a Boston native gave vague messages with no information (praise the LORD BPD and Menino finally took over and gave us Bostonians some coherent messages in our accent with actual tangible information)….
Hours later, after I ran out of my house and fled the city and found myself drinking margaritas near the cape (if you’re in crisis, drinking tequila is not the worst idea albeit potentially selfish, there’s not much you can do), the crisis was over…the 19 year old brainwashed terrorist was found in a boat, BY A CITIZEN (god bless the people of Boston just checking out the backyard) a mile from my home.
Boston has recovered. Boston is STRONG. Boston binds together at EVERY POINT in joy and in sadness. I love this town. I am proud to live in a neighborhood (SOUTHIE) filled with first responders such as BPD and BFD officers. I am proud to work at a hospital that provides the BEST care in the world to children. I am PROUD to be a Bostonian and one day I will be PROUD to raise a family here and have my children call it home.
I will be out on the marathon route, April 20th, praying and loving on all the runners (and a lot of my friends) while they conquer their dreams and make our city proud. We do not back down anything.