Saturday, April 20, 2013

A WIld and Crazy Night

Not long after the request to stay indoors was lifted, I sat in this very space and suddenly heard the sounds.

Shots. It seemed like 10 to 12. It seemed like they were coming from the area of Fresh Pond, which is slightly north.

No... it couldn't be. Probably just my mind playing tricks.

But actually it was the opening salvo of the end.

Soon thereafter I heard the sounds emanating from Watertown... explosions. More shots. Sirens. Helicopters. And the news reports confirmed, he was surrounded. I was sure his life was about to end.


Afterwards, we could hear the cheers of the jubilant crowd as the police dispersed. It sounded like being outside a football stadium. A misty drizzle fell like dew upon the crowd.

We decided to drive nearer; the throng was behind the still-blockaded perimeter on Mount Auburn Street. What a strange sight.

By this time we had heard that instead of being attended to at nearby Mount Auburn Hospital, the suspect was being transferred to MGH (and, ultimately, to Beth Israel). We decided to venture into the city, driving downtown to MGH, where news crews and cops were out in force. I had to pull a Bat-turn as I got too close to the police line, horrifying M. The nearby TD Garden was awash in blue and yellow lights. Downtown lampposts still bear the 2013 Marathon signage.

We thought about going to the Common but decided against. Apparently there was quite a scene of celebration going on there. Not surprising: that site has launched enthusiasm for four centuries.

Driving down Storrow was strange... after 10 p.m. on a Friday night, and the roads were sparsely traveled. Storrow is fairly similar to what Central Expressway was in Dallas 25 years ago: a significant road artery but only two lanes in each direction.

We decided to take Memorial, crossing over the Mass Ave bridge. The tower at MIT had been swathed in marathon-blue light, except for the shape of the traditional ribbon-shape, in remembrance of the marathon attacks. Turning onto Memorial, we paused to consider that just 24 hours earlier, the suspects had zoomed down this same street in a last-ditch effort to avoid capture.

On our way back we decided to check out the scene at Harvard Square. Normally hopping, and especially so on a Friday night, the crowd that normally numbers in the hundreds was instead perhaps 10 or 20. Parking near the square and on Brattle -- notoriously impossible to find -- was driver's choice. Seriously, there were hundreds of open spaces. Pick one.

But, there was nowhere to go. Most places had been closed throughout the day.

We were hungry. Most places had been shut down all day, but we found two in Cambridge that provided distinctly American options: A Burger King, and a Dunk's.

Cheap burgers it would be. Almost a dozen cars shared the line. Normalcy was already settling back in.

We came home and munched the burgers and fries while watching the finally winding-down coverage. It had been a painful, awful week in the United States and especially in Greater Boston. It was an event that happened in our back yard, and the unexpectedly swift resolution of the capture of the suspects caused millions of New Englanders to breathe a sigh of relief.

We just wanted to eat and go to sleep.


This morning is damp and cool. Fourteen years ago, the world was seeing another awful event in Littleton, Colo. Will the cycle ever be broken?

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