No photos tonight, just some thoughts. I’ve been thinking all day today about posting something so I figured I should just start writing and let it go where it goes.
I heard the word yesterday and it’s been echoing in my head all day: heartsick.
Surreal doesn’t begin to describe the awful events that took place yesterday. It was the first year in my 7 years now working on Newbury Street that I had Patriot’s Day to myself. For the past 6 years, I’ve worked in the morning and enjoyed the marathon once the leaders pass by our office. Yesterday I went golfing with my brother-in-law in the morning and settled in for an afternoon nap while Kara headed into town to cheer on all of the later runners.
I woke up at 3, plopped down on the couch still wiping the sleep from my eyes and turned on the TV. It was still on marathon coverage from when Kara was watching earlier. I saw the video that’s been replayed 1,000 times now of falling runners, policemen tearing down barricades and smoke billowing out of my neighborhood.
Let me clarify. For 7 years I’ve been walking up and down Boylston and Newbury Street. My office is 2 blocks from the second blast site. I’ve had 3 addresses while working in Boston but since I graduated from college, the back bay has been my midweek home.
I, like everyone at the event and those watching at home, was confused. I’m still confused. It’s getting more real every minute but it’s still too new to be real. On Friday last week I went into Sugar Heaven, now the windows have been blasted out and blood splatters are covering the sidewalks. Last year Kara and I were watching runners at that time, in that spot.
I called and called, and sent many texts around 3:12. I didn’t hear back until 3:31. It was the longest 19 minutes I’ve ever spent staring at my phone. She was underground, her train was stopped at Kenmore and everyone was evacuated. Above ground they were stopping runners as they started closing off Boylston. I’ve never been so happy to see a text.
We watched the coverage at home until we couldn’t watch anymore. This morning we woke up and I was surprised to find that not only was my office open, everyone was there. Anxiety and shock have been washing over me all day from the moment I stepped out of my apartment. I expected there to be a sense of comaraderie on the T. Instead I found a man cursing because our train kept getting delayed. People were eyeballing me the whole ride as I was nervously holding my backpack. National guardsmen were now patrolling my T Stop. My office road was empty, everywhere seemed closed for the day except for my office and Dunkin Donuts. Let me reiterate- schools, offices and restaurants all closed for the day all along Newbury Street. I think I counted 10 places that were open for business on a street of over 500 businesses.
Sometimes I hate my job and their business practices.
When I walked in it seemed like a normal Tuesday. But it wasn’t a normal Tuesday. I felt like I was the only person who felt wrong being there. I still don’t get it. I know eventually we have to get back into the normal routine but it felt like everyone was just acting like nothing happened and it still feels gross. People were talking about what happened but not any more seriously than if it happened 1,000 miles away. My coworker told me he felt the blasts and heard the screams from our office, and then turned back to his work.
I had Boston.com on my computer all day as I followed the stream of news and photos. Then I left for my break around 2, like normal. Then I walked by three women I just saw on my computer screen just minutes before. Then I passed by the garbage trucks filling up with thermal blankets I had also just seen moments before on twitter. Then I saw the national guardsmen I was just looking at on my computer. It was all too weird. I had my camera with me but I couldn’t force myself to take it out.
I don’t want these photos. I’ve seen them all already, I don’t need to add to the pile of misery.
I walked the perimeter of the cordoned off area and saw all the scenes I’ve been watching on the TV and on my computer. I watched some girls put up some purple signs on the Mass Pike overpass. Then I sat back down on my computer and hit refresh. Someone had just posted a twitter photo of a purple sign on the Mass Pike overpass.
Surreal is a good word there, but heartsick is how I feel. It’s weird that my neighborhood is now under intense media coverage and the lines between my life and the news are getting all mixed up. It doesn’t make sense that the 29 year old woman from Arlington could have easily been my 29 year old wife from Melrose. Or the 8 year old boy could have been my nephew.
When 9/11 happened I was angry more than anything else. Today I have no anger, just an intense sadness and feeling of confusion. My heart goes out to everyone, those affected by the blasts and those affected by the reality that this happened.