I never realized how much you were a part of me and how your influence has had everything to do with whom I have become. I write this on Wednesday. The bombs went off on Monday. Today is the first day I think about you and don’t cry hard enough to lose concentration.
I lived with you for 18 years. I was a ‘tough’ and naïve 21 year old who wanted out of where I was from. I landed in your very own Salem after being screwed over and out of an apartment and my car ran out of gas. I saw a guy in a suit coming from an empty apartment that said FOR RENT. I stopped him, told him I wanted to rent it, and voila- studio apartment acquired on the spot. His name was Tom and yes, you could actually get an apartment like that in 1995. I unloaded the futon and garbage bags of clothing and life possessions crammed in the back seat of my Chevy Caprice Classic (light blue). That began my love affair with you.
Jobs, careers, relationships, experiences, all with you, Boston, all events that have changed my life’s path many times. I saw U2 at the Garden on Paddy’s Day in Boston. I was robbed in Boston. I fell in love in Boston. My life and well-being were threatened in Boston. I was the happiest I’ve ever been in Boston. I had to pay those mafia guys cash to get my car out of a tow yard in Boston. I had my heart broken in Boston. I was scared and lost in Boston. I lost friends in Boston. I gained family in Boston. Some of your finest officers have been aggravated by my presence in Boston. I made lifelong friends in Boston – friends that, to this day, I couldn’t live without. I partied in Boston, which may be the understatement of the year, but Boston brings that party aspect out in people. I weathered winters and endured the humidity and oversized rats in Boston. I waited tables at restaurants with roaches on the walls in Boston. I took people out to dinner at Capital Grill in Boston. I began and ended careers in Boston. I hired and fired people in Boston. I was educated in Boston. I put up with your native people harassing me for my New York ‘accent’. I was a complete asshole in Boston. I was the best person I’ve ever been in Boston. My mind and heart expanded in Boston. I was dirt broke in Boston. I made a lot of money in Boston. Living in Boston somehow turned me into an interested baseball fan, loving the energy of the Sox. I know every back street, short cut in Boston. The T has carried me all over Boston in every state of mind and heart. I am still in your pulse.
And now here I am, living in a different time zone not able to help you. I don’t want to send a check to a relief organization. I want to be there, with you, helping you, helping you recover, nurse your wounds, dust you off and help you pull yourself back up on your feet. I need to help you heal and in doing so heal myself. I want to be in the crowd of people who sings the National Anthem to you.
The community and network of love and friendship I left behind with you are hurting. They are shaken. They, too, may also be realizing how much you are a part of them. I’m here, on the other side of the country, unable to go for a pint with them, or give a hug, or tell dirty jokes to get a laugh going. I am unable to sit in silence with them, absorbing the energy of the moment, feeling the pain in my own heart. I am both alone and lonely without you.
So what do I do now, Boston? Where do I go from here? Can I ever truly go back to you when I wasn’t there during your time of most urgent need? Do I deserve the memories and heartache and love I feel for you and for my loved ones who are still with you? Can I stop crying now?