As we approach the first anniversary of the bombings at the Boston Marathon last spring, my emotions are running high. Boston is an immensely important city to me for many reasons. I’ve spent a lot of time there. And being from Vermont where Burlington (which is awesome!) is the biggest “city” with about 40,000 people living there, many Vermonters view Boston as “our city.” I know some people from Greater Boston (and Boston itself) would scoff at that. But when you don’t have any true urban areas in your state, you look to the closest one. For us, that was Boston (though Montreal wasn’t a much further drive from where I lived, but it was in another country!). And let’s face it, Boston is New England’s city.
Anyways my love for Boston and the fact that I was in Boston last year on Marathon Monday combines to make me relive my trauma and grief as the anniversary approaches. It may not be this way forever and I certainly feel better than I did last April
. But for now, April has a new meaning for me, which is that it’s the month when I witnessed a city undergo a terrorist attack.
Things felt raw for me during all of April last year. I don’t live in Boston so it was easier for me to recover. I know that for my friends and family who live in Boston, they endured the shock and trauma for much longer. For me, the month of May brought significant relief. But now that it’s April again, I find myself pouring over articles and photos from last year and the follow up stories on the victims/survivors
. When the people who died that day are mentioned I start to tear up.
Let me say again that what Boston went through is awful. And it’s even more awful that in some parts of the world, terrorist acts like that are far more common. But just because it’s uncommon in Boston doesn’t mean the marathon attack and that day weren’t terrible. To say, “well that stuff happens all the time in other countries” is not beneficial for anyone and it distracts from the fact that no matter how common or not a bombing is for you, it is still scary and traumatizing (though admittedly, it carries a different level of trauma to those for whom it is a more common occurrence).
So I am going to channel my grief into nostalgia. I remember that April day. But I also remember my happy times in Boston.
There was a time almost ten years ago when I was just out of college and was spending time with friends in Boston. It was during a cold spell and my friends and I dressed ourselves in nice jeans and tops under which we had on a layer of long underwear (it was like 10 degrees that night and with the wind off the harbor, it felt like -5). So we off we went, all dolled and long-underweared up. We went to a bar that turned its upstairs into a dance floor on weekend nights and rocked out to 90s jams like “This is how we do it.” When our longjohns made us to hot, we ran outside and had a snowball fight with each other.
There was the time I went to the French Library
in Back Bay for a wine and cheese tasting. I think I could end this beautiful memory with that alone. But the best part of the evening was getting off the subway and walking to the library. It was early March, if my memory serves, and it was snowing lightly, leaving the sidewalks and hedges covered in a light blanket of snow. Streetlights lined every block and admitted a soft glow that shone through the softly falling snowflakes. Once the snowflakes landed, they became part of the blanket of snow, which sparkled from the streetlights’ incandescence. I was late for the event but I didn’t care as I made my way through a city that had turned into a whimsical snow globe.
There was another time when my friend and I had a pull up competition on the T (subway) and most of the car cheered us on.
And then there were some beautiful days like these…
Yum, North End food!
Lilac Sunday in the Arboretum.