Yesterday morning as I walked to work I was so excited to watch my first Boston Marathon and to cheer on my friend Jason with his wife, sister, parents, and our friends. I had been in Colorado over the weekend and I was happy to be back with my boyfriend enjoying the spring weather. We stopped at Starbucks on Charles Street to get breakfast, we paused in the Public Garden to admire the blooming trees, and we talked about where we eat lunch. It was such a pleasant spring day.
Jason was expected to finish the race sometime around 2:30 so we walked down Boylston to mile 26 where we found a bit of a clearing. Everyone else in our group was further down the course but we couldn’t cross the road to get to them so we texted while we were waiting for Jason to pass by. Jason passed us, we cheered, took pictures, and decided to head back to the office and see if we could catch Jason on the way.
We had just passed the finish area when we heard the first bomb right behind us. At first I thought it was a car backfire or a cannon, but when we turned around to see what happened we saw the smoke and people started screaming. My boyfriend wanted to see what was going on but I started to panic so we just tried to get as far away from the race and Boston landmarks as fast as possible. Everywhere around us people were crying as others shouted to stay calm. Not likely! I am pretty sure my panicking was a completely normal reaction to the situation! We made it back to our office, which is just about a block down Boylston from the finish line, but at that point we weren’t sure what else was going to happen so we thought it would be a good idea to try and get back to our apartment just outside of Boston. We told the security guard in the building what happened and then ran out to Newbury Street. Our building was evacuated not long afterwards.
We walked home as fast as possible, trying to process what happened while trying to check our cell phones for news updates while we walked. It was insane – people around us were crying, and telling friends and family on the phone about the bomb. We walked past MGH as the ambulances and police cars began to drive up. There were sirens everywhere. As soon as we got home we turned on the TV and watched the news from our bed with Lola curled up in there with us. We only had cell service off and on, so I sent a message to my parents that we were okay and posted to Facebook. Messages from family and friends poured in throughout the evening and was really comforting. All night we just kept saying to each other “one minute later and it would have been us.” We were very grateful to be able to speak to our parents, especially my boyfriend’s parents who woke up in India to the news.
I don’t know why bad things like this happen and some people are injured while others are spared, and I don’t have some deep philosophical insight into the day, but I can say that I feel so grateful to be able to hug my boyfriend and dog and tell my friends and family I love them. I have so much respect for the heroes who jumped in to help the injured when all I could do was run. I am thankful the Boston police and fire and local medical teams were well prepared and were able to mobilize so quickly. I am thankful for the medical tent that was so near to the finish line and probably made the difference between life and death for many people that day. I feel very loved by friends and family who have been checking in on us and sending us emails and notes on Facebook.
Our office is reopening tomorrow and will have counselors available for those who choose to come back in on Wednesday. I wish I could say I was ready to head back in, and that I would be a part of those in Boston who refuse to let the bad guys win, but the truth is I just want one more day in our cozy apartment before I have to remember what happened. It is probably going to take me a while before I can walk down that part of Boylston. I guess in a way it is good that we don’t forget what happened, but right now I know I am not ready to physically be back there when my mind keeps replaying it over and over. One thing I can say is that this doesn’t change how much I love Boston. In fact, the kindness and bravery of yesterday just makes me love the city that much more.
I realize this is probably my longest post, but writing this has helped me process some of what has happened, so thanks for sticking with me. More importantly, thanks to those who have contacted us to offer words of comfort, it means so much to both of us!
Some pictures from the day:
The view of the finish line from earlier in the day (this is where the first bomb was)
Mile 26 where we watched the race
Jason (in the yellow jersey) with .2 miles to go