An emotional opinion piece, written about the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013
|This piece was written as part of
we were asked to write about where we were when we found out about the Boston marathon bombings and what our first feelings were.
This is where I was, and these are my thoughts.
April 15th, 2013
On April 15th 2013 I came back to my room ,opened the glass door to the balcony and switched the television on. There were only two English channels on the old fashioned television which did not seem to fit with the luxurious decor of the four star hotel room. They were two news channels - one English and one American. The American channel came up first.
I was a bit annoyed because it wasn't as hot out as I had wanted. It was nice to go for a walk and I had wandered up the beach and around the village,but it wasn't really sunbathing weather.
I wondered which dress I should wear for dinner. The food was great but the wi-fi wasn't working and I was quite annoyed about that aswell -after all I had paid for the bloody wi-fi and how was I supposed to connect my tablet now? The receptionist had seemed unconcerned when I complained which only served to further my irritation.
Grabbing a bottle of water from the mini bar I turned my attention to the television channel. Something was going on - it always was on these American news channels. A red across the top of the screen read "Breaking News".
"What now" I thought.
The people on the screen were running and then an old man was saying something about how he got knocked over before the camera flipped to a shot of him falling over. The he was saying something about how he wasn't going to stop running marathons. He was 78, which I thought was pretty impressive, running a marathon at that age - I was less than half that and would probably struggle with the 100 metres.
"Not really breaking news though" I thought.
Then I realised - the man hadn't been knocked over in the marathon - he had been blown over by an explosion in a nearby building. I turned the volume up and sat down on the edge of the bed. It was a bomb. The explosion was a bomb. There were two of them, explosions, bombs. People were dead, were injured. The Americans didn't know who did it. President Obama said he was going to find out.
I thought of planes flying in to towers. I thought of a bus exploding by the Euston train station. I remember seeing the exploded shell of the bus days afterwards. I thought of a mad man running around an island shooting all the students at a convention like something out of Battle Royale.
I thought "When will it end?"
I thought "What the fuck is wrong with these people?"
A photograph of a smiling girl came on the screen. She was dead. She wasn't much younger than me. She was probably just a normal girl, going to watch a marathon with her friends. Perhaps she wondered what to wear that day. Perhaps she had worried because she had text someone who hadn't text her back, or because she was a size bigger than she wanted to be or because it looked like rain. All those things not knowing that in a few hours, she would be dead.
I felt so sad for her, for her Mum on the TV, crying, shattered by the news. You could barely even imagine it - being called up to be notified that your daughter had died, just going to watch a marathon in a city in one of the richest, most powerful and civilised countries in the World.
Civilisation we call it. Ha! How civil was this?
I thought of my own Mum. All the people at work who were Mums. That Mum, you could see the heartbreak etched in her face, like it would be a permanent scar. Like invisible shrapnel.
I felt guilty then, for being annoyed about the weather and the wifi and the unconcerned receptionist. It seemed stupid to worry about these things when this Mum had been called up and told that her daughter was dead. When all these people were bleeding and limbless, their families shocked and screaming. Their friends barely believing.
Life was so precious. It was there, and then it was gone.
I thought about how, somewhere there was a man or a woman - or maybe several of them - Human beings, just like you or me, who had done this.
And I thought "How the hell can you live with yourself?"