Love that Dirty Water


I lived in Pittsburgh from age 3 to 18 and then in Boston from 18 to 33. The cities are my foundations, my childhood and adolescence.

I don’t even know how to begin to think about the marathon bombings.

Last night, Andrew and I were glued to our news and social media feeds checking that everyone was okay. We have friends who run the marathon. One was supposed to run the NY marathon, her first, then Hurricane Sandy hit. She was at mile 24 of Boston, now her first, when the explosions went off.

Andrew used to work in Copley Square. I used to tutor a student in one of the buildings where an unexploded bomb was found.

Andrew grew up in a suburb of Boston. Being across the ocean… well, I think this is the first time either of our families was happy that we moved to Europe. But we wish we could hug our friends and huddle together in a living room somewhere. It’s still home, even if we aren’t there at the moment.

I made myself go to bed but woke up after just a few hours, the question of How? turning into Who? No one has claimed responsibility. Isn’t there supposed to be a statement or a note?

We make sense through narrative — motivations, cause, and effect. Right now we have stories of witnesses, of tragedy, of survival, individual arcs from within the greater, incomprehensible story. But that bigger narrative, the one that ties everything together, is missing.

Well, no. The narrative is missing, but the thing my cities have in common is that we’re tough, gritty, and kind. The city is united, and if there’s a bigger story coming out of the bombings, it’s that individual kindnesses accumulate. Boston is caring for everyone, locals and visitors alike. We’re a city of migrants — of students, of people in transition, of people just starting out — we always have been. Now, whether an international marathon runner or Southie resident, we are all Boston.

¬© 2016 Anindita Basu Sempere. 
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