I am grateful to have marathon medals that did not cost me any appendages in the process (not mine, my family’s, my friends’).
a bumbling narrative of time in an attempt to stretch it:
At noon today I watched a big screen at the law school, saw the Boston Marathon finishers cross the finish line with smiles on their faces.
Two and a half hours later I was sitting in my bedroom in Cambridge, writing a paper, when my brother both texted and gchatted me (generally unprecedented), asking me what I was doing, was I at home, there were two explosions at the finish line I had been watching just minutes prior.
Terrorist attacks (however broadly one wants to define “terrorist”; any human being who could do this is an absolute terrorist in my book) are not new. To someone who has family in Israel, and who pays attention to the tension in the Middle East, they are, in fact, unfortunately commonplace.
But it’s not often that I sit in my ivory tower, this beautiful glass bubble that is my law school, and feel precariously perched next to destruction. Merely two miles away: blood, screams, fleeing, horror. I practically lived on Boylston for a summer. Marathon Monday is a happy holiday in this city. And one person had hell rain down on us, on this, today.
I sat in class just 29 minutes after the explosions, shaking, following a liveblog and seventeen twitter update streams, looking at photos and red spatter and feeling sick to my stomach. Needless to say I did not learn much about the fourteenth amendment today, but rather learned that no place is safe. That we cannot take our existence for granted, even here, what feels like the safest of places.
I received many, many messages from concerned friends and acquaintances ensuring I was safe — “I know you run and stuff” — and what shook me most was that they’re right; I could have been there, if not as participant (as knees preclude), then certainly as spectator, the more dangerous role today. What brightened today, though, was the fact that so many cared. All of us here got messages like that. And everyone I know personally was unharmed.
I spoke to my mother and father about my disturbance. We compared it to Aurora, and Newtown, all of the recent horrors that beg comparison, but the difference here is that the culprit today is a coward; he continues to lurk in the shadows tonight.
Show your face, monster.
But my mother also told me about her time in Tel Aviv, when she had been out on a popular street one night, and not twelve hours later the block was exploded by bombs. This is life. We thank God — or whoever — for our luck in having chosen to be there twelve hours earlier. There is no guilt, or sorrow, in having been spared.
It is eerie. But it is life. And we take each day as it comes, each morning as a singular blessing.
To preface, my camera broke. At first I thought it was going to be okay, not a big deal, but the separation anxiety I’m feeling from my ability adequately (better than an iPhone, that is) to capture my life events is more intense than I thought. In short, my camera dropped about three feet from my lap to the ground, and now it won’t turn on, which led me to thinking of all the things my D5000 and I have seen together.
Since I was in DC this past weekend, obviously I took some photos of Kirby. It’s not my fault that he’s beautiful.
I keep having to remind myself where I am.
You’re in Australia, driving the Great Ocean Road; you’re really far from Boston. You add eight hours to determine what time it is at home because that is faster than subtracting sixteen. You spend your time perfecting the Aussie way of saying “oh,” running it through your head again and again, sounding it out slowly, deconstructing the way it feels.
Three hours after my last final on Wednesday, I broke my foot. I don’t know if my life could be much more comical — that the thrill of lifted responsibility could be so dragged away from me with one silly injury. Because, great, I’m free. But I’m also quite confined.
So I’m getting a wheelchair escort at JFK on Wednesday (because my improvement is so aggravatingly incremental), which will be embarrassing but appreciated. And I’ll spend my first days in New Zealand a little bit quietly.
Til then — happy holidays.
Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
President Barack Obama, in his address to a prayer vigil in Newtown, CT, December 16, 2012
[I’m unsure at what point our country began to view gun ownership and proliferation as a fundamental tenet of ordered liberty. I hope this is a call to action, and I pray for a miracle of administrable retroactive application so we are not stuck with our genie outside the bottle. Given what I know about the political process — I know it would have to be a miracle.]
I shut my eyes for a few moments and woke up in December, or that’s what it feels like. Tomorrow is my last day of class for the term, which started last week, or that’s what it feels like, and my first final is in nine days, which I wish were an eternity because I have a lot to process before that.
I won’t stop marveling at how we are here and now already, how outside it’s cold and there was snow on the ground on Saturday and my pains are dull, except for the pain in my back which ebbs and flows but flows each finals period. Some people feel seasons in their bones. I feel finals in my spine.
The past few months were full of rewarding struggle, of coming to higher ground, of being scared and pushing through the fear. I’m proud of what I’ve learned, and shocked that law school is half over. Time oft speeds, no?
I’ll be putting my head down for the next fifteen days to finish strong. And in twenty-two days, I’m getting on a plane and flying to summer and not coming back for a long time. So to the grind we go.