I don’t really know what or how to share right now. It’s still pretty unbelievable.
I am out of the country for work, and I was out to dinner with two colleagues on Monday evening. We stepped outside the restaurant to walk back to our hotel, and I realized that my phone had multiple emails and text message alerts popping up. I opened the first text which simply said, ‘Hey, are you OK?’ I was confused why I wouldn’t be OK, but at that same moment my coworker exclaimed that there had been a bombing in Boston.
The three of us stopped, in shock, in the middle of the crowded Old City street, staring at our phones– our lifelines to home– as people streamed around us. I started answering texts and emails, assuring friends that yes I was OK, even as more started to pour in. There was so little information to be had. We stood there numbly for some time, not really understanding what had just happened. In the cab ride home, we kept giving each other updates and passing along snippets of information. There was so little information to be had.
We got back to the hotel and got a much needed drink at the bar, all the while getting more and more updates from friends and family that they were safe, that they were OK, that they were still alive. Back in my room, I stayed up til 3 AM talking to my friends who had been there– just a few blocks away from the bombs. I obsessively scrolled through Facebook, making sure everyone I remotely knew who lived in Boston was OK and had posted something.
It was so hard to be here, in a foreign country for work, sitting alone in my hotel room, watching video after video on Boston.com, unable to view the live streaming news reports, relying on printed words on a computer screen to tell me that my loved ones were OK. It was so hard to see pictures of hospitals such as Brigham & Women’s, where I spent three days last summer when I was very sick, with ER doors (the same ER doors I’d walked through) patrolled by men with guns. To imagine the nurses that helped me and who were so kind, triaging blast victims. To think that if I hadn’t been away for work, I would have been down there with my friends, blocks away from the explosions. To remember the exhilaration I’d felt when I ran over the marathon finish line last year when I ran the BAA 5K the day before the ’12 marathon, down by Copley… and the loud cheers of watchers who were so happy for me– a random runner. To remember the excitement I’ve had for the past 7 years I’ve lived in Boston for Marathon Monday, and how this day is supposed to be about support, and love, and finding out what you are capable of, and cheering on runners, and laughing with friends, and unity.
I’m deeply saddened. But I’m also incredibly uplifted by the images and reports of those who ran towards the explosions. The helpers. The people who lent out phones, clothing, cars, blankets, homes, and comfort. The runners who, exhausted after completing nearly 26 miles, ran to the victims and started helping them. The people who picked up injured men and women and ran with them to ambulances and doctors. The volunteers who shuttled carload after carload of stranded runners to various locations around Boston. The reporters who, even as they were documenting what was happening, were busy tearing down barricades so emergency personnel could get to the injured.
I am stuck here for the next two days. But I can’t wait to get home. My heart feels incredibly full right now with love for my adopted city. Please excuse this ramble.