It’s been exactly one week since bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
When it happened I was in bed with Joe watching Mad Men. I was, as usual, aghast with Don Draper’s incredible ability to make poor choices. It was my first day off in over a week and I was relishing in the downtime. I’d gone to yoga in the morning. I had checked the news to see how the elite ladies did in the marathon. I was daydreaming about running Boston myself.
And then we both got a text from one of our old roommates who had moved to California “Are you ok?”. I looked at Joe “Did he send this to the wrong people?”. I responded to the text “I think so?!”.
Then we checked the news, and you know the rest, really.
Immediately I went through a checklist in my head. Roommates. Two of them were at work no where near the explosion. One I wasn’t sure about. Contacted him. He was fine. Other close friends I was able to place immediately. Within 10 minutes I was certain that everybody I knew was OK. My roommate came home crying and I wanted to tell her “We’re okay! Everybody we love is okay!” for some reason it didn’t register in my brain how fucked up all of it was. My only goal was to make sure all of my friends were safe. And they were. That was all that mattered to me on Monday.
But then the rest of the week happened and the big picture stuff started to settle in. I became obsessed with the news coverage. Obssessed with knowing everything I could. I wanted to help. This was OUR city, goddamnit! This was OUR running community. Who the fuck does this?! I donated money. I offered runners a place to stay. I tried to make people smile on my tour. But none of it was enough. I was just so sad and heartbroken that it had happened.
At the same time though, I was in awe of how our city came together as a community. How runners came together as a community. And I fell more deeply in love with my city my sport my home my friends my family. It’s sad that sometimes it takes something horrible happening to remind us to love. But at least we let goodness come out of it. If we didn’t return to good after times of tragedy then tragedy would be unbearable.
Thursday night I went to see a play. A really funny, escapist, wonderful little play. At home while I was drifting off to sleep I got a text from a friend who was rehearsing a play at MIT. He said “there was a shooting here”.
Yeah, sleeping wasn’t going to happen Thursday night. Joe went to pick up one of my best friends from the bus station (she just happened to be visiting this weekend! Timing, huh!).
Then I was up until 3 listening to police scanners with Joe as they chased the suspects to Watertown. Finally I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I fell asleep and my last thoughts were “This has to be over in the morning”.
It wasn’t. Obviously. Friday. The infamous lockdown day. Woke up to messages of “stay inside, don’t come to work”.
News all day.
Booze all day.
Yoga all day.
Ha. It was the most surreal combination of anxiety and celebration I’ve ever been a part of. We had 9 people in our apartment (one a stranger who needed a place to stay). 4 dogs. A cat. I was so grateful to be surrounded by my friends. And animals.
We were punchy. All of Boston was punchy. Waiting. For anything to happen. For it all to be over. This insane, chaotic, troubling week.
And then it was.
Honestly. I didn’t even feel better right away. It didn’t seem real. If I’ve learned anything about myself this week it’s that things take time for me to grasp emotionally. Ha.
But today is Monday. A new week. It’s a beautiful, crisp day on the Boston Common and I have a tour to give. At the end of this week I’ll be in Eugene, OR running a marathon and thinking about what it means to be a Bostonian and a Runner. Thinking of the sign at the London Marathon that said “Run if you can, walk if you must, but finish for Boston”.
Thinking that I’ve never affiliated myself with a geographical location before. That Boston is the first place I chose to live. Chose to STAY.
Next year I am running the Boston Marathon. Even if I don’t qualify. I’ll do whatever it takes. This is my home.