I sit here staring at a blank screen on my computer, and I can’t quite decide what I want to say. This is what I do on late nights these days: sit and think. It’s been a long week and I’ve had a lot of time to think.
I think back to last Monday afternoon, when I had learned of some sort of explosion, and, for a few hours, the whole event was a curiosity to me. I am almost ashamed to admit it, but the attack registered as nothing more than a news event in Boston.
And then the reports started pouring in, and everyone seemed to know someone that was there, either an eyewitness or a victim.
And then I learned that I, too, had friends that were at the marathon, and one who was burned by the blast.
And then I started to think back over my past 19 years. I don’t remember all that much from the 1990s. I’m supposed to be a ’90s baby, but my memory of Tamagotchis is pretty fuzzy. I never got into Power Rangers or Hey Arnold. In fact, I really don’t remember much of anything from the decade other than Dunkaroos and Nigel Thornberry’s nose.
But I do remember September 11. I remember when I first heard the grisly details. I remember being one of the last to get picked up from school. I remember sneaking in and watching the TV from the corner of the family room because it was a school night and television was strictly for weekends. I remember, some time later, being annoyed at having to take off my shoes at the airport.
But I can’t remember a time when I could leave my shoes on.
We were supposed to be perfectly safe, we suburbanites, protected by airport screeners and those wars abroad and successive presidents who put safety above all.
On Monday night, I went running outside, for the first time since fall. I was running to clear my head; I was running because running was all that was in my head after the marathon. Running was all I would let into my head. I ran down Mass. Ave. to MIT and looped back by the river. It was a pleasant route, and it wasn’t too cold. My playlist was old.
On Wednesday night, I went running again. I took the same route. Each time I ran past MIT, I wondered if I would run into my cousin, or anyone else I knew who lived down the road. I thought about the sidewalk, with all of its small potholes and large pedestrians. I hated my playlist.
On Thursday, at almost exactly the same time as I went running the previous night, I learned of shots fired at MIT. And then I learned of a robbery. And then a police officer shot. And then the police officer shot dead. And then a carjacking. All of which happened right on my running route. I was almost exactly 24 hours removed from the chaos.
And then I heard the sirens.
And suddenly, so suddenly, Boston became my city.
It’s during late nights like those that I get nostalgic for a time before all the madness, a time I frankly can’t remember. Why can’t we just turn the clock back fifteen years, to an era when the biggest threat to national security was a presidential blowjob?
The questions don’t stop. Why do they want to blow us up? Because it surely must be “us.” Who else? Who is “they?” What do they want? Would blowjobs suffice?
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