By Olivia Dolphin
I walk down Boylston Street almost every day now. When I see pictures of the 2013 marathon, I recognize the Starbucks I applied at, I recognize the Lindt store where I buy overpriced chocolate, and I recognize the Boston Public Library where I now have a membership. I have memories on this street, taking my boyfriend to my favorite Thai restaurant and almost being pushed over in Copley Square on a particularly blistery day.
Today, I stood in the mass of the red, white, and blue that seemed like every Red Sox fan ever, flocking into the city of Boston to celebrate victory over the Cardinals.
As I get older, I can see the lasting effects 9/11 had on me. I watched the events happen in front of me live in my sixth grade classroom, fully understanding that planes and buildings were destroyed, but not quite understanding the calamity of it all.
Now, low flying aircrafts make me freeze up, and physically ill. I can hardly think or move until I know they are staying where they are supposed to be, in the sky. Even the sound of perfectly fine planes flying perfectly fine can make me sick and motionless until I come back to my senses.
Game One of the World Series sent me into a full-blown panic attack when I was in my Fenway apartment, caught off guard by the traditional flyover. Phones unexpectedly cut out and our WiFi network went down, completely disconnected from the world for a split second, unsure what the hell that noise was.
During the parade, we stopped for a moment. Together the crowd sang God Bless America. Voices rose up as one, tribute to April 15, but it just didn’t feel like enough. Nothing will ever be enough.
Later, much after the police and fire trucks and Red Sox players passed us by; quietly, Carlos Arredondo, the recognizable hero in a cowboy hat, wheeled a survivor down Boylston, down the street that we’ve worked to reclaim. A street that we’re not afraid of, that we praise and repaired, as well as treat it as it should be treated: just a popular street in Boston, with restaurants, bars and shops. Yet, now with this spot of history as well.
Today, I stood across from the Boston Library, next to the Tannery, mere steps away from the Boston finish line. Today, I stood and celebrated the World Series, but mostly, I celebrated how proud I was of my city. I celebrated how proud I was of myself, constantly struggling not to fear the often violent and perverted world we live in. I am proud of the Boston Police working nonstop this week to make the World Series safe, Halloween safe, and the Rolling Rally safe. The details on the roof, K-9 units patrolling the block, and three helicopters in the air at all times made us aware that times have changed, but they are necessary precautions. This is the world we live in now, but we push through. Athletes fight harder for their cities, especially in times of need. That’s not rigged; that’s the power of passion, and camaraderie.
I wasn’t there the day of the marathon, and my imagination can’t even come close to the reality of those who were. And that frightens me. I literally cannot even imagine. I can only show support for this city. For you, Boston.[divider] [/divider]