Two months later...

Boston Marathon Bombing – Part 6

It’s two months after the 2013 Boston marathon and life in Boston goes on. A lot like normal for most people. A little less like normal for some. The bombing fades in my memory. Now the experience and the aftereffects are woven into the story of my life.

After evacuating the bleachers at the finish line, my friends and I found each other at Back Bay Station, thanks to a few texts. Thanks to some more texts I was able to communicate with family and friends and let them know that I was ok. And thanks to the working digital side of the network, I was able to email a couple folks and post on my Facebook wall a follow-up post–explaining that I was near the action but unhurt and safe.

One phone call notably made it through. I think it was close enough to the immediate aftermath that circuits were not yet overloaded; most far away friends and family had not yet heard the news. My friend called from her office in the suburbs. Her voice on the other end, which I could barely hear because of the nearby wailing sirens and the general fear that clouded my brain, was the sweetest sound. To this day, I really don’t know what either of us said, other than my indicating I was ok. And to this day, I feel bonded to her…that she reached out immediately and we spoke amidst the chaos. Sometimes, thinking about it still makes me cry.

One phone call sort of made it through–my brother’s name and number appeared in my missed calls log and in the voice mail log. But after hearing him say his name, the rest of the minute-long voice mail was empty. The circuits must have overloaded just after he connected. Thus, his words of concern were lost to me.

We stood outside the station for an hour or more. Helping runners reach out to family and friends via text. Talking to people who needed to talk. Hugging each other. And generally looking, no doubt, like we had no idea where to go or what to do. Because in truth, we didn’t really. We were not far from home as the crow flies, but far given that we were on the other side of the marathon route, which we knew was now a very large crime scene.

The feeling was most unsettling. On one hand, we wanted to be inside, somewhere safe. On the other hand, the idea of being inside felt a bit threatening. At last, however, we had to do something. So we started on a long, slow trek home, around the crime scene, hearing bits of news along the way about the number of people injured and killed. When I got home, I made a few calls on my landline and powered up my fading cell phone.

Then I turned on the news to find out what the world knew. I stared at the screen in shock.

Wondering, as would become a common thought for me in the days and weeks since, at the vagaries of life’s events and how our personal decisions, even the small and seemingly innocuous ones (right or left on this corner? stand here or there to watch? talk to this person or that one?), change the course of our lives forever.

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