April 17th, 2013


living in the aftermath

There's this post I keep meaning to write, but I feel like maybe I'm not the one who should write it. So much of this feels too far away and yet too close. It's a tragedy that didn't touch me personally. But you know, I'm a writer. I process things by writing.

So here is a list of things:
  1. If you want to donate blood, donate blood in a month or two. After a tragedy, the blood banks get flooded with donations, and the shelf life of blood is only a little less than a month.

  2. It wasn't a beautiful day on Monday. It wasn't raining, but there were still gray clouds, and it was still a little cool. I lived two hours away from NYC on 9/11, and one of the things I remember about that day best was that there was a crystal clear sky, blue that stretched as far as the eye could see.

  3. Boston is the first city that has ever felt like home to me. Sure, there have been houses and campuses and people, but Boston is the first city.

  4. Massachusetts is one of two states who celebrates Patriots' Day. It seemed a little strange and a little silly to me when I first moved here. Don't we already have July 4? Why do we need this one, too? But now that I've been here for a few years, I get it. You don't need to explain it to me. I get it.

  5. I was sitting in lunch yesterday, and my coworkers talked about it. "I was one block away. We heard the explosion and we thought that maybe it was a canon or something and then people started freaking out everywhere." "I was only a few blocks away, too. A cop came by and told us we couldn't keep standing around, that we should go inside. We had no idea what was going on, and there was all this noise and panic everywhere."

  6. What gets to me about the Boston Marathon in particular is that it's such an international event, that it comes with such good will (even as the commuters curse its existence) from so many different places. I mentioned this a few times already to some people, that one thing that struck me about footage of the wreckage were those flags, so many different countries, flapping in the wind.

  7. My commute has not changed. Sure, there are half-raised flags and there are new law-enforcement officials in the T stations where they weren't before, but the mechanics of my day are still the same. Maybe it's because I'm across the river, far away from ground zero. After something like this, you feel like something should be different. That we have been altered so irrevocably by this experience that it should show up somewhere that we can see, that things should slow down or stop. I go to work and I'm the same person that I was last week.

  8. But maybe that's okay. Life goes on. It should.

  9. This whole thing feels like an open wound, and it's healing. Boston will wear its scars. I know that this isn't unusual in other places, that this is every day for so many people. One of my other co-workers is from Columbia, and he has stories about the days when the drug cartels are angry about extradition to the US and put bombs in a shopping malls, just to make a point. People on my dwircle/flist were listening to air sirens in Tel Aviv just last year. Maybe it's selfish or maybe it's not, but I don't want this for us. I don't.

  10. I hope Dennis Lehane is right about Boston. I want to believe that it's a place that will pick itself up, dust itself off and move on much the way it always has. I like think he'd know better than I would. This was his city long before it became mine.

  11. There have been so many things that have made me cry in the aftermath of all this, you know, in a good way. And I hope that this is what we carry with us. There's been such an outpouring of love and support from all corners of the world, and there are so many heartwarming stories about the kindness and generosity of people. I wish it didn't take something like this to unlock that sort of goodness in people, but I guess, much like the weather around here, you need to see the worst it it to really understand what the best of it really means.

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