after yesterday

It is difficult to begin.

Not being directly affected by the explosions, I found myself today shaken but not fractured, and overcome with a heightened sense of consideration.

Despite an inner voice imploring me to avoid crowded areas and public transit, I went to work like I would on any other Tuesday. I rode the train through a dark and lifeless Copley Station, still closed after yesterday’s events. The train seemed to slow as we passed, perhaps out of respect. With the platform empty and unlit, the windows became mirrors and we passengers saw only ourselves. For one reason or another it was discomforting and I wasn’t the only one to direct my eyes upward, as if we could see through the top of the train and picture the devastation above as we glided safely underneath it all. The ride felt quieter than ever before, but eerily similar to every other day.

I feigned smiles at the soldiers posted outside my final destination, both thankful and weary of their presence. I walked through the park, past the yellow tape and news vans, past the army tents and lines of police vehicles parked on the grass. I floated about my day noticing small occurrences, which on any other day may have seemed ordinary, even mundane – a man crying in the park, a woman shouting scripture from atop a staircase to an audience of no one. I listened as I shuffled by, disagreeing with her words but empathizing with her conviction.

I have watched the videos and read the stories and flipped through the pictures a thousand times. The crumpled faces of familiar shops and store fronts. The bent metal and broken glass. The litter. The sidewalks I recently frequented, now stained with violence. I wonder if I will ever see them in the same light or walk them again. I rarely use the word surreal to describe my experience, but I have never before been given such an awful occasion.

I want to speak about everything. I feel compelled to compose my thoughts, but I refuse to make assumptions, point blame, or comment on race, creed, or politics. I want to express compassion to those who have lost and are currently suffering, and gratitude to those who continue to give. It is so very easy to feel your faith in humanity slip in these moments. I beg you, please do not let it go. Take pause and notice the sheer number of people who have answered this crisis with kindness. After yesterday, there are heroes on the streets of Boston and their spirit is astounding.