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On the Road

1. We were at home, or we were out in the yard.  Maybe with the kids at a playground.  Or ice cream on the back deck.  Jogging with the baby in a stroller because it was Marathon Monday and we take pleasure in the minature and the mimetic.  We were, most of us, in the middle of our Here.  But as that afternoon lanced into early evening, we made our way to the television.  Squeezed our phones into our palms.  Sat in front of the computer.  Because now, we were There.

2. This hurt.  So deep.  Just so fucking deep.  Seeing that boy’s face most of all.  A smile with a lifetime of gaps between the teeth for the growth to get in.  Probably there aren’t any words outside of abstractions for what that hurt does to our insides when we sit with it, so we unname it.  Unspeakable.  Unutterable.  Can’t imagine.  Don’t.  Don’t understand.  Nonononono.

It hurt.  So fucking deep.  I don’t think anything we do or say will cauterize that wound, even at our remove.  We will end up living around it.  May peace contend and prevail within the souls of those who will live with wounds far deeper than ours.

3. Even from our vantage on the outriggers, however, we understood that things had stopped.  We talked about that.  That whoever had done this had meant, perhaps, to take something of who we are out from under, and that they would not be allowed to do so.  Not forever, at least.  But we had been stopped for a day, and another, and then more.  We wondered after whispers in the wind, figures on the edges of surveillance footage and otherwise benign cell phone pictures.  We had been stopped, everything had stopped.  Except him…her…them…whoever had done this was moving amidst and, we feared, into the silence.

4. Many of us slept through the beginning of that last day, which was really the end of the second to last day.  We woke up, turned on the morning news, saw blue lights in the darkness and heard those awful, awful fucking words.  “If you’re just tuning in…”  Nothing good happens after that, not outside of sport.  Coffee did not seem to clarify, neither embolden.

The sun rose, rumors spread, and people didn’t leave their houses.  Later, many were told to remain inside.  Later still, many more.  But in the middle of that silence, in the belly of that awful nothingness, there was movement.  And not just the bomber we now knew as Suspect #2.  There were others, others moving.  They left their houses.  They left their families behind.  They went to Boston.  To Cambridge.  To Watertown.  Some of them go to this gym.  Some of them love people who go to this gym.  They moved into the silence.  And perhaps what comes out of our guts when we wonder “could I have done that…would I have been ready to leave my family behind to do what was asked of me?”…perhaps on another plane that is nearly as unutterable.  Because we’d like to think the best of ourselves, but we aren’t sure we’d have that answer.  And so we are thankful.  So very thankful.  To you who moved yourselves so that we might all begin to edge out of the silence…thank you.

5. Nothing here, I don’t think, has anything to do with lifting weights.  Or doing burpees.  Or finishing a workout.  No.  Nothing like that.  I guess what it is, though, is everything else.  We have an example now.  To fight for each other and to put our fucking boots on when it’s time to go to work.  May we live bravely and full of memory.

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