“Are you in Boston?” She texted back.
No, I was not in Boston. Living in Indianapolis, I no longer anticipated Patriot’s Day with the same gusto as I did when I was a Bostonian just a few years ago.
After college, I taught English in Europe and save for a few weeks in Houston, I moved to Boston directly upon my return. I learned a lot about myself and about who I wanted to be in Boston. I think I found myself in Boston. And what better place to do that than in the Common, walking the Freedom Trail, running the Charles or with a nice cold beer at Fenway Park?
I lived in Jamaica Plain in a two-family home that was never warm enough in the winter and never cool enough in the summer. We had red walls with art we made ourselves or found on the streets. The college kids that moving to and from Boston in August and May make for really great dumpster diving.
One of my many roommates, Marci, and I used to take the #39 bus to the YMCA near Northeastern University in the winter to get in some miles during the dark Boston winters. I watched the Sox win the series at the Jeanie Johnston, a neighborhood pub that I stumbled to and fro with regularity. We walked just further down the street to get burritos from The Purple Cactus or ice cream at JP Licks where I worked and served Joey McIntyre an ice cream cone. I took the T, the Orange line, from Forest Hills station to Back Back Station — a 12 minute ride — to my other job at a non-profit in the old Red Cross building. It’s now a bunch a condos, I think.
Back Bay is the stop we’d use to see the Boston Marathon. It’s an easy walk from Back Bay station through the wind tunnel between the John Hancock building and Trinity Church, through Copley Square and on to Boylston Street. Boylston Street where our beloved Sox threw red and blue beads while the Dropkick Murphy’s blasted from the parade route speakers. Boylston Street where the race ends. Where the bomb blasted. On Boylston Street the historic Marathon Sports has it’s home. It was at that store that I was fitted for my first pair of marathon shoes. I ran the Chicago Marathon that year.
Boston is a beautiful and resilient city. Bostonians, even the temporary ones, aren’t ones to let any one mess with their city. There is too much pride. There is too much ownership. Too much community even in this city with such a storied past, they come together.
Boston will recover, but it won’t be the same. At least for a few generations. I know that next year when Patriot’s Day approaches, the marathoners will run for those that we lost and those that were injured. It’s a terrible thing what happened. We pray for Boston. And we pray for Bostonians whether they be lifelong or for race day only.