So I’ve been quiet here. I’ve been working more hours than I care to admit, and we’ve been traveling as usual, and we’ve had some serious emotional hurdles the past few months. I’m a happy person, and writing about sad things tends to make me feel awkward. Like I’m asking for attention. I was English to the core before I even got here.
But today, the sad will get talked about. Not because I have anything particularly worthwhile to say. And it’s not even about London. But what I have to say, well, it just feels like it deserves it. And it’s personal and sappy. So, there.
I grew up where those bombs went off yesterday at the Boston Marathon. I wasn’t born there, and I didn’t go to elementary school there, but I went to college around the block and came into my own there. That neighborhood was my anchor, a place I visited in my early days at Northeastern because I’d visited in high school and felt cool knowing my way around. And as the years went on, it took on new meaning. Boylston Street became the place I went out with friends at night, and returned to shop and eat the next day. It’s the place my amazing bridesmaids took me for my bachelorette party, the place I watched a friend finish the marathon four years ago to support another friend’s mother who’d recently passed away, the place I made the “SO MANY RULES!” joke to my best friend which has gone down in (our) history.
Directly behind where the first explosion was, I had my first date on Newbury Street with the man who became my husband. (A year earlier, three doors down from the second explosion, I had a first date with a man who did not become my husband because I met the one who did.) I celebrated a friend’s graduation at the restaurant on the site of the second. Ordered a glass of pinot grigio when I was 20 years old at a Thai restaurant just to the left, and cheered quietly with my best friend that we were served. I waited for that same best friend outside her office on countless spring days, on the spot where people lay on the ground yesterday. Many years later, in a snowstorm, I walked my crew of Brooklyn friends–in town for a hockey game at my alma mater–down the cross street of the first explosion. We passed both locations on the way to a bar that–while it has been renamed and reopened three times since–was the first bar I ever went to based on a suggestion in my first text message ever, which also happened to be from my future husband. These, among countless other memories so ubiquitous it’s difficult to even pull them out.
We’re so incredibly lucky, given the odds stacked against us, that all of our family and friends are safe. If I had to put a quick number on the amount of people we know who we care deeply about who were less than a five-minute’s walk from what happened yesterday, it’d have to be close to 100. My (unofficial) future brother-in-law is safe. My best friend Rebecca is safe. Three people who stood up with us at our wedding were in the immediate vicinity, not including one of their wives–our amazing friend Jane who ran yesterday. Three more could have easily been there. And that’s just counting our bridal party. Eight years after we moved, we still had people checking in on us. Emails flooded in from former and current colleagues asking: Was my sister safe? Were my friends safe? Was I safe?
I said earlier to someone that it’s difficult to digest the enormity of this as I focus on the well-being of so many individuals. “Curious” doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about what explanation will eventually come for this. But right now, I’m just so happy that the hundreds of people in my news feed today on Facebook are alive and more fiercely proud of our city than ever. And no, I did not think that was physically possible.
(Some [blurry] shots from that night on Boylston, just for fun.)