Boston on my Mind

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And, once again we are slapped senseless by the senseless. Hard to grasp, impossible to process, mind-numbingly obtuse to the life we live. The life we want to live. The life we try to live.

The day stops. The work that was a moment earlier consuming and challenging fades away, simply drifts to the background of the senses. Did I really just send a Tweet about the story I posted on a horse racing website? Did I really just worry about raising money for a horse purchase? Do I really care? Does any of it really matter?

I stare blankly at the TV. I can’t stop. Watching, but mostly listening, to the madness, the senseless madness that has invaded us again. It comes in shards, in staccato stabs…

Four hours into the marathon. Two explosions. Ten amputations. 110 injuries. Blood. War zone. Two deaths. 8-year-old boy. Five undetonated devices. Three deaths. 141 injured. Three undetonated devices. Shrapnel. Ball bearings. Lockdown. 138 injuries. A cannon. Woman praying. 17 victims in critical condition. Carnage. People on top of people. Death toll will rise. 78-year-old runner blown off his feet. Shock waves. I knew I was going down. Backboards. Patriots’ Day. A Boston treasure. It will never be the same. Massive boom. We take care of accidents all the time, that this is intentional is sickening. White smoke. Haunting images. Opening Day of Fenway. Running for a cause. Such a joyous event. Such a terrible atrocity. One or two people trying to destroy the whole thing. On the finish line. People are brave. Charity runners. Smoke straight up in the air. Snow fence. Barricades. Boylston Street. Right out of a movie. Glass. Body parts. First explosion drives people. To the second explosion. The more powerful one. Flags from around the world blowing. Saudi National. Black man. Black hood. Black backpack. Look at forensics. The signature of the explosives. Domestic or foreign? Battlefield. The intimacy of the pain. The graphicness is seared into my mind. Treating people in the street. One man lost both his lower limbs. Woman expired. I don’t know why. High alert. No motive. No one in custody. Emotionally stunned. Nurses. Cops. Doctors. Runners. Victims. 

Life is not the same. We are not of the same safe era of our ancestors. We take off our shoes to get on an airplane. We check our bags to walk into a baseball game. We are accountable, accessible at every moment. Of course, 9/11 comes back to life, where you were, what you were thinking. It’s the same feeling – helplessly removed from it. I feel guilty for not being there, no, that’s not it, not guilty, just removed, lost in the enormity. I wonder if I would have run to or from the scene. I think about taking my son places, about the little decisions that can inexplicably become enormous decisions, knowing you can’t waver, knowing you can’t let the bastards get you down. I think about my two marathons, all my friends who have run marathons, run the Boston Marathon. The freedom of running stymied by the audacity of hatred.

My family is away. I’m alone in a lonely house. I pour a cold Stella. Lean back and say a silent prayer. Another silent prayer.