Monday, April 15, 2013

My Town

I've lived in the Boston area for almost half of my life now. There is something about this city that I can't quite explain, and it's probably something that others feel about the places they live too, that it becomes a part of who they are.

I fell in love with Boston on a high school trip to the area, sitting in traffic and staring at the Custom House clock. I was immensely proud of my first apartment in the city limits. And so proud to have my children in this city. Obviously, none of that changed today.

Like 9/11/01, I found out the news over an email, this time an MBTA alert. Just last night and earlier today, I'd told people how I loved taking the T on marathon day - congratulating random runners, asking people where they're from, the skipping of Copley Station knowing what was happening above. My office is further away from the finish line now, but at my last job we were right there, and we'd go out and join the crowds. I could never see well enough - would curse myself for being short - but the electricity in the air is like nothing I've experienced elsewhere. For someone who doesn't care about sports, that it was a sporting event almost didn't matter. It was so inspirational, especially all the runners who do it to raise money for charity. Hannah's teacher ran today, and a few of my coworkers as well.

After I saw that the T was down, it took just a minute or two on Twitter to get the gist and know I wasn't going to be able to take the T home for hours, if at all. My first thought was the kids - a striking contrast for me to 9/11. For everything else that seemed the same - the bright blue sky, the stranded feeling, cell phones not working - I didn't have kids then. I knew mine were safe, but still wanted to get home. I left the office quickly and joined a huge crowd trying to get a taxi at South Station. We were all asking where people were headed, and I found a BC student also trying to get to Newton. She had a broken leg in a cast, and was hobbling on crutches. A cab approached and others rushed it first, but he wasn't willing to go where they needed. He saw the college student on crutches and waved us over. I was very grateful for that. We got on the Mass Pike, and many, many emergency vehicles whizzed past on their way into the city. The cab driver took me as far as he could up Centre Street, dropping me off about six blocks from the marathon route. I passed a cluster of runners waiting for transportation, all of whom seemed to be doing well enough. And then, with the permission of the police still stationed there, I crossed Commonwealth Avenue, the marathon route itself. It was truly surreal to be able to walk across that street today. I walked the rest of the way home.

I'm heartbroken for all of those affected today. I'm offended that someone did this to my town, to my home. I wish I had something more to do at this point other than reel. So I'm putting this bit of love for Boston out into the atmosphere. Wishing all of us more peace.

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