My Heart Breaks for My City

My heart is still so heavy after the tragic events that occurred at the Boston Marathon on Monday.  I never thought that something like this would happen where I live.  I never thought that it could happen in a city I love so much and am proud to call my home.  But it did.  It happened. 

Marathon Monday 2013

The day started out so perfectly.  The day was gorgeous.  Seriously, perfect running weather.  Tim and I were so excited to have the day off and spend it down in Cleveland Circle like we do every year, cheering on the runners and enjoying golf balls (our Marathon Monday drink of choice) at Cityside Bar.  This year Slesh was able to get the day off.  We were also going to get to meet up with Ashley and Bret for lunch, as well as see a few other friends throughout the day.

Marathon Monday 2013

I just remember feeling so happy.  The Boston Marathon is one of my favorite days of the entire year.  It’s a special day in Boston, a holiday, where the entire city lights up with festivities and people celebrating the accomplishments of the twenty thousand some odd people who poured their hearts and souls into training for THE marathon to run in.  I am not a marathoner, and I am certainly not even claiming to be a runner.  However, this day leaves me feeling so inspired year after year.  The physical and mental feat of the runners is unbelievable.  I cry tears of happiness throughout the day.  A lot of them.  And the feeling of being on the sidelines, cheering and yelling and high-fiving people who I don’t even know, leaves me with such a high.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be out there running and living it.  It’s amazing.

Runners

The last thing I remember happening before I learned the news of the explosion was spotting two girls from my hometown running by.  I yelled out “Ashley!” and didn’t think she heard me, but then Katie noticed and yelled to me.  These aren’t girls I keep in touch with regularly, but just seeing people I knew was so awesome.  I was yelling and just felt so proud.  SO proud.

After that we decided to head back into Cityside since we were getting cold.  As we were waiting in line to get back into the bar, we saw swarms of police cars drive by.  Too many cars to be normal.  Then Slesh received a phone call from her best friend from home who had literally walked away from Copley seconds before the first explosion happened.  She said she knew something bad had happened and was hoping we were near a TV to tell her what was going on.  I knew by looking at Slesh as she was having this conversation that something wasn’t right, and then my dad called.  He was pretty frantic, since he knew we took the day off to be on the sidelines, and he was just saying “are you ok” over and over.  The next few minutes are a huge blur.  I reassured my dad I was fine, texted my brother because I knew he was in Fenway, and then we went inside to watch the news.

Then I got pissed at Cityside management, who continued to blast their Marathon Monday music.  OVER the news reports of the bombs.  People were complaining and one guy started yelling about how could they be so inconsiderate.  It took them well over 15 minutes to actually turn the music off and let everyone in the bar watch the news.  I have spent many days and nights at Cityside, a staple when I lived in Brighton, but Monday may have just marked my last.  It was utterly rude and disrespectful, and as I keep reading reports of restaurants opening their doors to let people in regardless of whether they can pay or not, I find myself getting angrier and angrier at Cityside management for acting the way they did.

Anyways, again the rest of the afternoon is just a big blur and so surreal.  We started walking because we wanted to avoid the T.  We sat with a few friends in Moogy’s for a bit, waiting for the streets to clear.  So many friends and family members were reaching out to make sure I was okay.  Even readers, some of you whom I have never even met in real life, were tweeting and reaching out because you had read my Monday morning post saying I was off to cheer on the marathon runners.  I appreciated each one of those messages.

We finally made it home (thank you for driving us, Bridget), and I found myself just wandering around my apartment, trying to busy myself.  But I couldn’t concentrate on anything.  Instead I found myself glued to my Twitter and Facebook feeds.  I was checking in on people who I knew were participating in Marathon Monday.  Some of them were bloggers that I have never met, but I’ve just been following their journies.  I kept clicking on different news articles, and I even stumbled upon a picture of my ex-boyfriend’s sister crying hysterically on the front page of the NY post.  In a time like this, the past doesn’t matter, and I reached out to my ex saying I saw the picture and was glad she was okay.  To be honest, I can’t shake that image from my mind.

Then I decided I couldn’t handle reading all the recaps anymore and instead switched gears to the silver lining.  As I clicked through pictures of all the people willing to help in any way they possible could, I burst into tears.  The stories of people who continued running straight to the hospitals to give blood.  The first responders who dealt with the scene and carried people to safety.  The outpouring of love, support, and concern for Boston.  The amazing tight-knit blogger community that I somehow found my way into and couldn’t imagine my life without, all coming together from this one act of terror.  It’s amazing.

Mr Rogers Quote

So, yes I am still so angry toward whoever did this.  And yes, I’m so sad for all the runners who didn’t get to finish their race and may never get to run in Boston again.  I’m disappointed that my beloved Marathon Monday will never be the same.  And I’m absolutely heartbroken for those people who lost their lives, were seriously injured, or had loved ones affected by this heinous tragedy.  I’m praying for them.

But I’m also choosing to look at the good.  At the love all around.

let faith

And I know in my heart that Boston, and the Boston Marathon, will be back next year.  And even stronger than ever.

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7 thoughts on “My Heart Breaks for My City

  1. Beautifully written Athena. This was one of the most tragic events that I could have ever imagined, especially because I once ran the marathon and could picture myself crossing that finish line and my family and friends standing where the bombs went off. I’m so glad that you’re ok, but like you said, there is a sense of shock that came along with the news reports. I felt that I didn’t know what to do with myself, and although it may seem selfish, I went to the gym. I needed to find peace within myself so that I could try to calm myself down. I watched the news there, and listened to the radio in the car. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, stop listening, because I just wanted to understand what, why, how this happened.

    I’m enraged that Cityside behaved in such an inappropriate manner. If you may, I would suggest contacting them and letting them know how saddened and enraged you were by that behavior. Although it doesn’t change how they operated that day, perhaps it will make them think twice about reacting differently in the future. I think it’s also important that they realize the severity of those actions, as they likely lost several customers that day. I’m a BC Alum and future BC grad student, so City Side is a staple. However, I’m offended that they would blast music for 15 minutes-this isn’t like it took a few minutes to turn it off-15 minutes?! Uncalled for.

    Let us continue to love and pray and hope for a more united and peaceful future.

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  2. Heartfelt and beautifully first hand witnessing to a tragic day. We are all in shock and can’t find the words to express our outrage and sorrow. My gratitude goes out to all the first responders and every day citizens who did not hesitate to help. May we all heal together but never forget.

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  3. Well-written, Athena. You definitely captured all of the reasons why I love marathon monday so much! What keeps bothering me is the fact that most of the people we saw running by when we first went outside to find Bret’s cousin are the ones who were most likely right where the bombs went off as they almost crossed the finish. Bret’s cousin and the Hoyts, both of whom we saw at that time, were stopped at mile 25, right before the blasts.

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    • Fantastic writing Athena with tremendous expression of feelings that everybody could relate to. I was so happy to hear you and your brother were ok when I called. I’m praying for all the families affected; I’m proud of all the people who helped the injured; I know that we will not let this cowardly act stop us from living our lives & the marathon will be back !

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