My heart clawed at my throat, giving me a thick, choking sensation. Tears pressed at the back of my eyes as I valiantly tried not to panic.
What the hell? Unfortunately, I live in a post 9/11 world and I knew in my gut that someone had intentionally done something to hurt the runners, the cheering crowds, whomever happened to be close enough to their destruction.
"What?! will do, please do the same for me!"
I started thinking, rapidly trying to calculate Sam's chances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was in the third wave of runners, right? That means she should be okay, if they set the bomb off at the end of the race but when the first wave was finishing. Unless it wasn't at the finish line, and it was set off in the middle of the race sometime.
"You ok? please call or text asap if you can."
I darted downstairs and waited impatiently for my computer to start up. Sam had talked about being able to track her progress in the race online. I would find out what happened at the marathon and when, then go to her blog to find her race number and figure things out from there. I mumbled under my breath a lot, drumming my fingers on the keyboard while I gained internet connection.
"I'm fine I finished before all the chaos."
Big breath out. I stopped desperately scanning Boston marathon reports and closed the browser. I didn't want to hear about the people who hadn't been as lucky as me, whose texts were going unanswered. I forwarded Sam's response to our friend who alerted me to the disaster in the first place.
That night, a television character I was very attached to died on the show, and I wept silent tears for almost half an hour.The next day, driving home from the barn I broke down and cried again, thinking about how easily Sam could have run 10 minutes slower, or her friend at the marathon could have been 2 minutes slower.
I am so, so glad the worst text I got that day was, "Will you let me know if you hear from Sam? There were some explosions at the Boston marathon," and not empty silence.
I saw this on a Facebook, and Cam Saliciano said it, but I agree wholeheartedly:
I don't want to know his name. I don't want to see his face. I don't want to know his life's history, his back-story, who his family is, where he went to school, or what he liked to do in his spare time. I don't want to know what "cause", if any, he was fighting for. I don't want to know why he did it, or may have done it, or what possessed him to carry out his actions. I don't want to know. Because that's what he really wants. I'll be damned if I'm going to give him what he wants.
Put him on trial, but don't cover it. Tell me when you decide to jail him for three lifetimes - because that number matters. That's the number of lives he has to now pay for. That's all I want to know about him. Nothing else.
Instead, tell me about the first responders who ran towards the fray, within seconds, fearless. Tell me about the ones wearing the yellow volunteer jacket, or the neon police vest, or even the ones in the regular everyday t-shirt who became a helper. Tell me the story about the first responder who held gauze over a wound until they made it to the hospital. Tell me the story about the volunteer who held the hand of the injured spectator until they got into the ambulance. In six months, tell me the story of those who lost a limb, who beat the odds, pulled through countless surgeries, and are learning to walk again. Tell me the story about the love, the compassion, and the never-ending support of thousands, millions, of people who support the victims here. Tell me their stories. Tell me everything you can, because they are the ones that matter. Tell me of the good that they have done, are doing, and will continue to do, regardless of... No, not regardless of, in spite of. In spite of that someone who would do them harm. Because that's what freedom in this country means. It means coming together in the hardest of times, even in the face of unfathomable adversity, to make life better for all those around us.
Tell me the good stories. That's all I want to hear.