As I’m sure most of you know, I live in Watertown (remember I Love Watertown month in 2011?)—and assuming you’re remotely up to date with current affairs, you probably know exactly where that is after last week’s manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.
I wasn’t sure if it made sense for me to write about everything that happened last Friday, but it felt kind of strange to ignore it since it affected me directly so I’m going to go ahead and share my story—mainly so you’ll understand why I’ve been MIA for the past week. It’s been a very strange and humbling experience to say the least…
In short: it was the most terrifying experience of my life and I’m so ‘effing happy that last week is long gone. Good riddance. For those of you who didn’t see my incessant stream of scared-s**tless Facebook status updates last Friday, here’s my version of the events that transpired:
I was awoken from a dead sleep at 1:30am on Friday, April 19th by a phone call from my good friend Amy who lives a few blocks over. Since we’re not 22 anymore and drunk-dials are few and far between, I assumed she’d only be calling if something was wrong so I reluctantly took the call. I picked up to hear a frantic Amy asking if we had heard the explosions and gunshots, and if we were ok. No, we hadn’t heard anything, I said, and asked her what was going on, “The marathon bombers are in a standout with the police in our neighborhood”, she said, “Everyone’s saying to take shelter, lock all your doors, and stay away from the windows”. What the…and so began the citywide lockdown, one of the longest and most frightening days of my life, as authorities launched a massive manhunt in my town for the surviving bombing suspect.
The lockdown was serious (and seriously scary): for the majority of Friday, no one was permitted to leave their home under any circumstances. With literally nowhere to go, we spent the majority of the day in a quiet, controlled panic. After laying in bed all night listening to news updates on the radio and seeing police flashlights searching our backyard, I spent the remainder of day on the couch, trying to breathe away the lump of fear and anxiety that had taken over my chest. Dan’s strategy was to distract himself with work and to go about his day like “normal”, and Fanne (it’s amazing how many people asked about her) just luxuriated around the house, enviably oblivious to what was going on. It was a long, long day filled with lots of social media (Facebook was a godsend—an incredible distraction to the severity of the situation and also a way to update family and friends on our safety) a constant stream of live news footage, a visit from fully-armed National Guardsmen (my God, I’ve never appreciated law enforcement so much), and being scared out of our minds when we heard gunfire and reports of the suspect being found in a boat only a few streets away.
But they got him—and miraculously—no more innocent civilians were harmed. Just as quickly as it had started, it was over, and along with most of Watertown, Dan and I ran into the streets to cheer and celebrate with everyone and reunite with our friends. The all-consuming feeling of joy mixed with relief and gratitude that I felt that night was like nothing I’ve experienced in my entire life. It was over. We were safe. Oh. My. God. Did that really just happen (a question I’m still asking myself)?
I spent the next few days in a bit of a daze, feeling like I had woken up after being knocked out, trying to remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing—oh yeah, I have a job, and appointments, and responsibilities…It honestly took a while to acclimate back to normal life and to feel like myself again, but I’m ok now—much better—what a f***ing week though. Wow.
I’ll end by saying that I feel incredibly privileged to live in a country where week’s like last week aren’t the norm. I feel blessed that myself and my nearest and dearest are safe and unharmed, I feel immense gratitude for those who put their life on the line in times of need to protect mine, I feel sincere appreciation to everyone who reached out to Dan and I in concern for our safety, and lastly, I feel terrible sadness for those who lost their lives last week, and for those who will be struggling with what happened for the rest of their lives. Another reminder of just how precious and fragile life really is.
As far as this month’s challenge goes, want to know how many steps I took last Friday during the lockdown? 689. Total. For the entire day. I’m surprised I even thought to put the thing in my pocket at all…