Today I had the day off work. It started like any other day.
I ran errands, where I talked to the friendly cashier in Trader Joe’s about Boston, blissfully unaware of the tragedy that was to come.
I vaguely knew it was Marathon Monday in Boston, but I didn’t really think much of it.
I baked cupcakes for a friend to celebrate and commentate a professional milestone. When I gave them to her, several hours later, I could hardly focus on our conversation because my mind was so far away.
My roommate was the first person to alert me that something wasn’t right. “Something happened in Boston.”
“Yeah, today is the Marathon.”
“No, not that. Something not good.”
I went to the gym, weights and deep breathes during yoga giving me a few moments of distraction, but all the while my heart continued whispering, “Boston, Boston, Boston.”
I cried again.
I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, relief coursing through my veins with each post confirming another person’s safety.
I checked Twitter: news, headlines, and messages of consolation splashed across each page.
My beautiful, proud, resilient city.
Thank you for letting me call you home, for choosing me just as much as I chose you. I am grateful for your people that welcomed me with open arms, your streets that became familiar haunts, and today, most especially, for the afternoons I spent and treasured in Copley Square. The beauty of those moments outweighs the tragedy.
I believe in you still, Boston, and I will always love you first and foremost as home.
And I woke up still in a haze today, still broken hearted.
I almost forgot how much of a Bostonian I considered myself.
But really, I don’t think this is just about Boston. This is about humanity. This is about our communities, our celebrations, and our personal milestones that we celebrate together.
Last year, I walked the streets of Boston everyday. I carried a T pass in my wallet and called the Orange Line “mine.” Every night, I fell asleep underneath a map of Boston tacked on the wall over my bed. In my early days, I’d stand on my bed, tracing streets and the routes of the T, willing myself to learn it all, wanting to soak up as much as possible.
I spent afternoons wandering around Copley Square, enjoying the farmer’s market and a good book in warm weather, checking out books from the Public Library, and buying food from Food trucks. Copely was–and will forever be–one of my favorite places in the city. But now it and that stretch of Bolyston Street means something else to people everywhere.
During my time in Boston, there was hardly a day that went by when I didn’t think about how lucky I was to live in this beautiful, strong, proud city.
Boston means something now. And it will forever mean something to me.