After a slow day of working from home while watching the epic marathoners cross the finish line from the 19th floor of my boyfriend’s apartment, my four friends and I left the comforts of the living room in search of food.
The apartment building is on Ring Road, a street adjacent to Boylston and directly overlooking the finish line, an enviable location for special events such as this. We walked out of the elevator and crossed through the lobby to go outside on the plaza. They say time seems to suspend in emergencies like this, and sure enough the next five minutes after walking outside felt like hours to me.
There was immediate discord, a police officer with a whistle in his mouth and his hands overhead trying to ask people running by him what had happened. As my friends and I were trying to figure out why people were screaming and running, a thunderbolt came from the Earth below us as we felt the ground shake and a cannon go off close by. Then people REALLY started running. My immediate thought was of Godzilla. I can’t explain it but the manner in which people were pushing and shoving to get off Boylston simply brought to mind the movie mayhem of a giant monster in the city tracking down innocents. Although in this case the only monsters were human.
The police lost control of the situation as a man came sprinting up to us and told us to go back inside because there was a terrorist attack on Boylston. The scariest part of all was the look in his eyes as he explained that the guardrails, windows and runners were blown as two bombs went off 100 feet away. We went back upstairs to be safer. Back at our “enviable” view, we saw what many would see on taped B-roll hours later — uniformed officers attempting to control the situation, windows blown out, smoking, and glass shattered everywhere … and a man bleeding out in the middle of the street unmoving. A few minutes later emergency vehicles arrived to cart him off, and not once did he move or twitch. As my friends and I sat there looking feeling shocked above all else, I wondered if he would be one of the dead or critically injured. Two minutes later a state of emergency and evacuation of the Copley area was declared by someone somewhere, so we left the building and headed South and West away from the congestion.
People were running, children were crying, no one could get through on their phones. The amount of emergency vehicles was astonishing. No one knew where they were going, how to get there, or who was in charge. Chatter was everywhere; the lack of tweets updating visitors on the situation was driving them mad. It occurred to me then that the scariest part of the entire aftermath was the lack of information. In a world so bred to be over tuned, doused and lathered in useless information, there was none available. The city is in an emotional, mistreated and uninformed way, and despite all our best efforts to keep calm and carry on, the lack of information is killing us.