Most readers who have been visiting this blog in the last several years knows that much of what I post here is about Boston. D lives in the Back Bay and ever since we started dating four years ago we've done a lot of wandering around the city and enjoying its many delights, from restaurants to art museums, riverfront to waterfront, blizzard to blistering summer heat. We enjoy lots of everyday wandering as well as the big annual Boston events like 4th of July weekend and the New Year's Eve procession down Boylston St. And the Marathon, which usually coincides with the prettiest time of year when the magnolias along Commonwealth Ave are coming into bloom.
On Sunday evening, the day before the Marathon, we had a nice dinner at the Eastern Standard with one of D's friends who'd been at the Red Sox game. We walked back from Kenmore Square and headed to Boylston St so we could take pictures at the Boston Marathon finish line painted across the street in bright blue on yellow. The next morning we watched the elite runners on TV as they left Hopkinton and began their amazingly fast run 26.2 miles to Boston. Just before they were due to arrive, we walked the two blocks over to Boylston St from D's apartment and found a spot to watch and take pictures of the fastest women and the fastest men as they glided past us for the remaining two blocks to the finish.
And then we wandered off, mostly back a bit away from the rows of people lining the race, taking pictures of runners, spectators, kids and dogs, and the line of magnolias up Comm Ave. My friend M, who I'd just traveled with in Mexico, called me on her cell to meet up with us. So we met her and walked over to Boylston at Dartmouth St so she could see runners reaching the finish line past all the colorful waving flags. Then we walked back down about a block and stood on the sidewalk for awhile, chatting with a young guy from Southern California who was waiting to cheer in his girlfriend, tracking her with his cell ("She's 3 miles out!" "Now she's 2 and half miles out!"). We cheered on the limping exhausted and the astounding still-vigorous alike. The Marathon is Boston's annual family reunion (117th this year), to which we invite tens of thousands of strangers from all over the world to join in -- the lithe and speedy as well as the merely human cheerers-on. It's our happy day.
It was 1:15 pm by my last camera download. We walked back along Boylston and then over to Newbury St to get some lunch, then said goodbye to M and went home to D's.
We were about to take a nap. D had come down with a cold, I was tired. It was 10 minutes to 3. We heard one loud crash and wondered if a truck had dropped a large load of steel somewhere. Then the second, closer one, which we could feel. Seeing the smoke rising behind the buildings two blocks away and hearing all the sirens, we knew something very bad had happened. We stayed in, watching TV in utter sadness.