Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing

I know this isn't exactly science-related, but I just...have to put my thoughts together somehow.

Today's been surreal. Scary. Sad.

I'd just gotten home after a morning of handing out water for the Boston Marathon runners and having lunch with my coworkers. We'd been at the Mile 3 water stop for hours, and I currently have a broken knee, so I opted to go home after we were done with lunch. Others carried on and went further down the Marathon route to watch the end of the race. They went somewhere in Brookline, near the end of the route. I went home.

This was my fourth year working the Mile 3 Water Stop. It was tons of fun, as it always is. Lots of smiles, laughs, and cheers. Again, with my broken knee, I couldn't pass out the water myself, so I sat in a chair and cheered the runners on, thinking to myself, "Gee, I guess I'll just have to remember this year as the year that I couldn't pass out water".

No. Not even close.

Once home, I settled in to rest and flipped on the TV. I couldn't find Boston Marathon coverage, so I turned it back off. Then I got on my computer. Not long after I logged onto Twitter, a particular Tweet caught my eye. It was something about explosions as the Boston Marathon.

That gave me pause. I was skeptical as to what it meant. After all, I had just come from the Marathon, hadn't I? And nothing on TV had been talking about the Marathon...

So I googled "Boston Marathon explosion". I turned the TV back on. Reports were just coming in. Everything escalated in the blink of an eye.

Outside my apartment, a string of emergency sirens sounded. On the news, images of a blood-spattered Boylston Street worked its way through the confused fuzz of my brain, telling me that something horrifically awful had truly happened. Within four minutes of this initial confusion, my sister called, having just heard about it herself. I told her I didn't know what was going on, that I didn't know anything, and I didn't know if anyone I knew was safe or not. I probably sounded fairly panicked.

See, I personally knew both runners and spectators that could've been near the finish line, including my coworkers who had opted to go down to watch the race end. And I suddenly realized I needed to know that they were safe.

Thus began the frantic texting. The frantic phone calls. Part of me remembered the panic would go two-ways, so I tried to call my parents, to make sure they knew I was safe. But by that time, calls weren't going through anymore.

I can't begin to describe my mental state as things got worse in the news, and as I continued to not hear from anyone else who was running or watching the Marathon. Instead, I'll just say that thankfully, it did eventually turn out that everyone I knew was safe.

But that isn't true for many, many other people today. Including an eight year-old child that lost his life from these bombs.


Today, I got my fourth Marathon jacket. It's bright yellow. I was joking around this morning that I couldn't even remember what I'd done with the other three I already own, each in a different color. They were likely in storage somewhere, wrinkled and forgotten.

But today, I've watched people in these yellow jackets run away from explosions. Run in assistance to help people caught in the explosions. Run to embrace each other after chaos hit.

I can safely say, this jacket won't ever be forgotten.

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