You know what's weird? It's weird when you're in Boston, where you've been dozens of times in the last six years, and you've just watched your little brother cross the finish line on a handcycle, and you and your cousin and her boyfriend are finishing up lunch, and then your boyfriend calls to see if you're okay.
"Yeah, i'm fine. Why?"
"There was an explosion close to where you are. A couple of explosions. Stay away from the trains."
And then it's weird when the trains are all shut down and you can't get back home. It's weird when you're looking at news pictures of devastation and destruction in exactly the spot where you were just two hours before, and you think, "Thank God all the amputees got out of there before the explosions triggered their PTSD," and then your mom is texting you, saying, "Get a cab. I'll pay for it." but you can't find a cab, so you take the Silver Line to the airport. And then it's weird when you realize that the airport is probably a horrifically unsafe place to be, but so is the place where you were, and anyway what choice do you have? Walk the eight miles to your apartment? It's weird when you get to the airport and take the Blue Line to Beachmont, and then your cousin's grandmother picks you up, and then you and the grandparents and Agelseb and her boyfriend all stay in Revere over night. It's weird when you're seeing the devastation of your own city on the news. It's weird when you wake up the next morning to a text from your dad saying that the FBI searched an apartment in Revere because they got a lead on the person behind the terrorist attack. It's weird when your brain puts two and two together and you realize that you were just two blocks away from a terrorist attack as it was happening. It's weird when you have to call your boss to say that you can't come in, because the of the explosions.
It's weird. For a long time, it's not terrifying or upsetting or sad or anything like that. It's weird, and it's stressful, and it's annoying, and it's uncomfortable, and it's inconvenient. It's weird to drain your cell phone battery calling people to tell them that you are alive and to make sure that they are. It's weird.
Today, i have a major event at work that i'm sort of co-running. Actually, i'm kind of running the whole thing. So it's weird to get back home at 8:45 in the morning, change your clothes, and run straight to campus to start setting up slide shows and posters and making frantic phone calls. It's weird and anxiety-producing and super stressful. It's weird to look at the gorgeous LBD and pearls you had picked out for today, so that you would be appropriately polished and professional when you are running a major campus event, and then reach for an old t-shirt, jeans, and your rattiest sneakers, because you haven't even showered yet and you forgot to change your underwear and you'll be running around for the next eight and a half hours so why bother? It's weird to spend the day eating trail mix because you're too nauseous to eat real food and you don't want to pass out. It's weird to see your Facebook news feed filled with information about this thing that almost happened to you. It's weird to sit quietly in the back of the auditorium while someone lectures about using GPS signals to predict earthquakes and totally ignore the lecture to read Dorothy Parker, because it's Dorothy Parker and you love her and all you want to do is read and relax, and then you remember that you almost got blown up yesterday and you just keep breathing.
I've been hit with tiny waves of realization from time to time. Mostly, i've been weirded out. Yesterday, i was mostly stressed about normal tiny annoyances ("The Red Line isn't running! Check the Orange Line. Oh, they're only going to Forest Hills. Where the fuck is Forest Hills? Whatever, it's the wrong direction. Can we get a cab? I haven't seen any cabs in hours. Wait, does this bus go to the airport? Agh, i have to pee!"). Last night and this morning, i was anxious to the point of nausea and insomnia because of this huge event today and all of the things i still needed to do for it. Every now and then, i get sad or scared or anxious about the attack, but mostly i've been wrapped up in other things. Mostly, it's just been weird.
And it's going to be weird next year, when the marathon comes around again and everyone gets nervous. It's going to be weird in fifteen or twenty years when my kids learn about this in school and their teachers give them an assignment to interview their parents and i tell them how close i was, i pull up a map to show them where i watched the race (right next to the finish line) and the P. F. Chang's where i was during the actual explosions. It's going to be weird when we find out who was behind this and watch the bloodthirst take over.
It's going to be a weird time for all of us, for a very long time. But life is weird, and wine is good. Give lots of love to your friends and family. Pray, or meditate, or think happy thoughts, or do whatever it is you do in times like this. Keep eating and drinking, even if you're nauseous and/or distracted, because the last thing your loved ones need right now is for you to pass out from dehydration or malnutrition (says the girl who has yet to eat an actual meal today). Sleep. Take a shower. Give someone a back rub. Snuggle. Watch a happy movie (i like Bringing Up Baby). Sleep and eat and love some more. Things are always going to be weird, so just keep breathing and you'll get through.