A Reflection: One Year Later
I’ve spent my whole life in Massachusetts. Both of my parents went to school in Boston, my father at my school, BU, my mother at Boston Conservatory, so naturally I spent my whole life visiting this city. It was the science museum, or the aquarium on a school break, or a Sox game on a warm day in May. When Boston was the destination of school field trips, I took pride in knowing my way around and recognizing landmarks. I have loved this city my whole life, even when it was two hours away.
When I was deciding which university I would attend, I think the deciding factor was Boston. I was so set on somewhere else, but then I was here, I was in the city and this was the place I knew I needed to be.
Two years ago, my first Marathon Monday was 80 degrees and sunny. Everyone was wearing tank tops, everyone got sunburned, and everyone got drunk. The air around me was alive. Everyone was so happy and celebratory and laughing. It was perfect.
One year ago today, the day began with a shift at work. It was chilly out, but sunny and I was done with my shift by 10:30 am, so it was ok. My friends and I headed down to Beacon Street and joined in with the celebration. Just after 2:49 pm I received a phone call from a friend at the Pru asking me where I was and if everything was ok. Then he got cut off. I didn’t understand why he was worried or what the problem was, so at first I ignored it. Quickly, the low voices and confused looks started showing up with more and more consistency around me and the call from my friend started to make sense.
One year ago today, just before 3;00 pm, I learned that a bomb had gone off a mile away from my location on the marathon route. I was scared. Sitting in the dining hall, I was scared. Trying again and again to call my parents, I was scared. Walking to the Student Theater to be with my friends and BU family, I was scared. Sitting on the lobby floor, the news playing on a laptop in front of us, I was scared. The fear continued after the day was over. Nights with more sirens than usual and days of news speculation over suspects filled that whole week until those suspects were caught.
You see, my whole life I have heard the stereotype that, as New Englanders, we are cold and distant and rude. We are these things because we don’t smile at strangers who pass us on the street or start up long conversations with the person ringing up our groceries. We are cold and distant and rude because, from day to day, we keep to ourselves. But that is so far from true.
As American regions go, I think New England is the introvert. We need time alone. Sometimes after a lot of interaction with a lot of people we get tired. Sometimes we’re too caught up in our own heads to smile to the person who sits down next to us on the T. But just like any introvert we care deeply about those we feel close to.
One year ago today, and again one year ago from this coming Saturday, Bostonians proved that we are so much more than cold and distant and rude. We are passionate and we are caring and we love our city and each other fiercely, even if we show it by passing each other quietly on the street and staring intently into our wallet as our purchases are rung up. There is a way about the people of this city in its triumphs and its tragedies. When we fall, we pick each other up and press forward. That is what we have always been taught to do. When we fly, we hold each other close and cheer in the streets.
We are so strong and we make Boston strong.