When people at school ask me where I live, I always respond with “15 minutes south of Boston.” Boston has not only been a physical landmark in my life but also an emotional one. I may not carry “Pahk the Cah in Hahvad Yahd” accent around with me, but I carry the memories and amazing opportunities that this beautiful city has provided me throughout the years. Every visit into Boston is a new and exciting experience. Whether its walking through Quincy Market and people watching, exploring the neighborhood pizza shops in the North End, or screaming “Sweet Caroline” at the top of your lungs at a Sox game, this city always makes for a memorable time.
As much as I enjoy the vibrant energy inside the Garden, the twinkle of the Zakim bridge lights at night, and the creamy deliciousness of Mike’s Pastry, the people are what really what makes Boston, Boston. You can classify us as Massholes, or “wicked hardcore” sports fans who make up an excuse every time the Celtics don’t make the playoffs, but we don’t really care. We live for it. We live for the crackling of peanut shells underneath our sneakers at Fenway and beeping our car horns far too frequently. If Boston has taught me anything it has taught me to be proud of where I come from; proud to be surrounded by such a strong, powerful, and loyal community.
I have grown up attending Marathon Monday almost every year since I was a kid. I have had relatives, friends, and colleagues participate in this exhilarating event and they truly come out of it changed people. Training for months, maybe even years for a day that they will never forget. Sure, the race is the focal point of the day, but the energy that the people in Boston provide that day is something that is truly unexplainable. They say running is half mental, half physical. You can train for your whole life, but if you don’t emotionally invest yourself in it, you might as well not even try. I can tell you one thing: it’s hard to not become emotionally attached to the Boston Marathon when you know thousands and thousands of people will be behind you every step of the way on the day of the race. It must be a great feeling to know a complete stranger is your biggest fan as you jog by them. Even if your over 3 hours behind the first place winner, everyone still looks at you in a heroic light. The atmosphere is remarkable.
When someone comes in and tries to destroy this implacable energy that Boston has that day, it leaves people utterly confused. Why destroy something so chaotic yet so amazing? Monday’s events were truly heart-wrenching and hit close to home for me. I received a text from a co-worker of mine that asked “Are you in Boston?” I replied with a simple, “No I’m at school :(” and immediately she responded with, “Good there has been a couple explosions in Boston near finish line and multiple casualties.” I read the text and didn’t really know how to react. Confusion and curiosity filled my mind, unsure of what to do next. The next thing I knew I was getting texts left and right asking if I was in Boston and if I was OK. It was then I did further research online and it all started becoming clear. These explosions were not just, “explosions”, not just a random electricity wire that sparked, this explosion was planned, planned to kill, and planned to catastrophize a day that stood for pride and endurance.
Fear began to enstill my mind. I thought about my roommate and sister that were there and all of my friends and family that attended the marathon. I started to panic unsure of what to make of everything. After several phone calls and texts, gratefully, all of my loved ones were in safe company.
My roommate, Alex, experienced a lot that day; emotions and images that will stick in her mind forever. She described a scene in a local ice cream shop where half the customers were hysterically crying while the other half were going about their normal business ordering ice cream cones. It gives me an eerie feeling in my stomach that while people’s lives were lost and blood was shed everywhere just a couple blocks down, some people still had no idea what in the heck was going on.
Even after finding out my loved ones were OK, there was and still is a pit in my stomach. It’s two days later and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I find myself constantly analyzing and going over what happened in my head, but I simply can’t. I can’t do it and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I still need time to process everything or maybe it’s just that I don’t understand how humanity can treat each other in this way. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The question of, “Why?” lingers in my head and as I struggle to find the answer, more questions seem to come my way.
As the confusion subsides, and the city begins to piece together the puzzle, I am sure of one thing. Boston is and will be stronger than ever. Boston is comprised of the most dedicated and loving residents that will do anything to protect their own. Focus now not on who committed this heinous crime, but focus on how we can rebuild from this. Tell someone you love them just because you can, remember that life is a precious and fragile thing that can be gone a second. Focus on the police, firemen, and doctors that have worked tirelessly to recover from this. Focus on the victims and their families and keep them in your thoughts and prayers every second of every day. Focus on love and the fragility of life. Focus on how you can better yourself from this. How can you make a difference for a better tomorrow? Ask yourself.