Today was my first day of work since relocating from Boston to San Francisco last May. It had been a tough journey and I awoke excited and a little nervous to meet my new colleagues and begin this new chapter in my career.
After spending the morning settling in and enjoying lunch with my workmates I received a text from my wife.
“2 bombs exploded at BosMarathon finish line L dozens v hurt.”
My heart dropped. I had just mentioned to a co-worker the excitement that comes every Patriots Day to Boston with the running of “the marathon”. It’s Boston’s happiest day when everyone comes together to cheer on each runner that trots, jogs, or limps along the route. I have never experienced anything so inviting in my entire life.
I clicked online and the story began to unravel quickly via Twitter and the local news stations. The videos were horrific, the photos graphic. My wife and I lived along the marathon route for 7 years in Brookline and Boston’s Back Bay, cheering on those who were strong enough physically and of spirit to push themselves to the finish line. The explosions were blocks from our last home, across the street from the hotel that employed my wife since it opened several years ago.
I texted friends who were sure to be watching the race. They had been heading to the finish line like many others as the crowd always swells after the first few hours when friends and family usually finish. They were safe. A photographer friend luckily turned down the Finish Line assignment.
Even though many of the spectators are strangers, I know those people from these short clips, not personally but I know them. Each year we shared Marathon Monday, ringing cow bells, encouraging runners, and congratulating finishers brandishing their medals later that night.
I know that sidewalk. I bought my running shoes at Marathon Sports and my candy from the shop next door. I checked out my books from the library across the street and waited for my wife after work on that sidewalk.
Like so many Bostonians, I know every square inch of that exploded space and the joy that was erupting up to the moment of those horrific blasts. Every year this day brings out the best in people but it also allowed someone to show their worst.
I know Boston and they will come together like they always do. Bostonians endure; it’s in their history and will be in their future.
All I have to do is watch the clips and see the police, the pedestrians, and the race officials, running towards the explosion to help. One of my wife’s friends sent this telling email, showing how much these few seconds of destruction called for strength and heroism today and in the future when the shock wears off.
“We heard the bombs and people just started running. I ran through all the rooms to get the guests away from the windows and close the drapes. The public came pouring through to escape Boylston Street. We evacuated everyone to Huntington Ave. The street was full of bloody debris and everyone was sobbing. It’s horrific.”