I’m sorry I wasn’t there.
As I boarded a plane to Los Angeles Monday morning, I was (vocally) disappointed to be leaving my friends and fiancé. Not to belabor the point, but I’m quick to tell anyone who will have me that the Marathon is my very favorite day of the year. Business people at the airport chatted about their families’ plans to head downtown and I felt jealous. I wanted to be standing along the course, cheering on strangers and a few friends who were facing the long course ahead.
It wasn’t long after we landed that it became clear something was very wrong at home. We pieced together enough from Twitter and Boston.com and the WLBT team in the early minutes. Next came a flood of concerned text messages questioning my location and safety. I stepped into a small restaurant just in time to see the bomb go off on TV. Without question, I frightened the patrons as I gasped and sobbed at the bar counter. Someone made me sit; someone got me water.
I was lucky to locate nearly all my loved ones within moments; my closest friends, my family, my coworkers – all accounted for – all but my fiancé. And as people checked on me, it was hard to respond, saying I knew I was fine, but I couldn’t reach Brian. I zombied through a 1pm PDT meeting – willing my phone to ring. It was nearly 90 minutes and an alarming amount of unreturned text messages before he was finally back in a place where he could send or receive messages. Gratefully, he was safe, too. But even remembering the uncertainty makes my stomach churn all over again. More than anything, it makes my heart ache for those who were less lucky.
The point of my rant, Boston is – I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I should have been there to hug you and cry with you and offer any support I could to anyone who needed it. I wanted to buy a runner or a hero a drink, a dinner, a flower. Being on the other side of the country has been a kind of punishment.
The people here in LA have been generous with their outpouring of support – as they have nationwide – when they hear we flew in from Boston on Monday. Their eyes widen and then they ask, without fail, ‘is everyone ok?’ And it’s been great, but they aren’t you. It’s with you, Boston, that I feel known. It’s with you I’d like to face the day and say, “I’m sad, but not scared.”
I fear my tears are not nearly done shedding. When I get home Thursday morning, the reality will have to sink in all over again. I’ll have to face our city’s new scar and grieve again. I should have been there grieving with you on Monday and Tuesday.
The good news is, we’ll all recover together. One day at a time.
*This picture was taken about 6 seconds after I met my now fiancé as he ran the Boston Marathon in 2010. I’m in the jeans.