Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Damp tissues

This is really hard.

We heard the news at around 3pm.  Driving home from Natick, where we'd been at a BBQ with Paul's coworkers.  Because this is how it is on Marathon Monday, you go to watch the race, you drink beers and watch the kids play in the sunshine, you talk about your own training with other runners.  I stopped Paul mid-sentence to turn the radio up - I thought they'd said something about explosions at the finish.  They switched the story back to the race winners.  I started crying.  Paul tried to calm me, reminding me that we didn't know any details yet.  I tried to find details online, but was timing out, nothing had hit FB yet, then the first reports started coming through on twitter.  The radio stopped trying to cover the race, and instead covered the blasts.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to soak up any detail, but also not trusting what the media was reporting (when they can't google Patriots' Day, I had little hope they were getting the rest of the information right), tracking down friends, alerting my family that I was physically safe.  But mostly I just felt devastated, and bad for feeling so upset and stupid for thinking this could never happen here.  And I cried.

I felt like didn't have the right to be so sad.  Boston is my home town now, but I've never actually run the Boston Marathon.  I didn't know any one injured, dismembered or killed.  How can I show up to work having tossed and turned all night, eyes swollen?

This is my community.  The Boston Marathon is the holiest of our holidays.  It is one of the very best things the city does.  It's a shining example of human triumph - not just the runners, but certainly them too.  The hours trained, the records broken, the hundreds of thousands of dollars earned for charity, the precision of measuring and timing the course, of checking and double-checking every elite water bottle to insure that it is placed and spaced correctly on the table.  Boston has thousands of volunteers.  This year they turned away volunteers.  They have a volunteer loyalty program (and I assure you most people are not in it for the jacket).     The Marathon is just pure joy.  It is uncompromisingly good.

Of course, it would be a target.  How could I have been so naive as to think that evil would never try to mar the goodness that is the marathon?  Why can't we have nice things?  I have no doubt the Marathon will go on, but it will never be the same.  The specter of this year will hang over it for decades to come.

I wish that I could feel defiant or angry toward the perpetrators, or awed and amazed at the people who raced to the scene, but for now I just feel hollowed out.

I am so thankful to my friends for reaching out from places and phases of life, near and far.  It means a lot to feel less alone in this tragedy.

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