If you know me you know that I don’t leave a 15 mile radius of my home very often. Sometimes I will go to Brunswick to see Seth at work and get Frosty’s donuts. Occasionally I will go to Freeport or Portland to go shopping. I almost never leave the state of Maine. But it was important to Seth that Abe and I see him run the Boston Marathon. I figured that we had sacrificed a lot of our time with him so we should see the result of that. My friend Amy and her 8 year old James came along since she was versed in the marathon and the city.
I was really nervous about driving into the city and being there with my toddler. We made great time, getting there in just over 2 hours. It was a cinch to get there. Although I did mortify Amy by driving onto Boylston Street (right at mile 26) which she insists was closed off. I did have a golf cart coming at me, and I had to part a crowd of people so I could turn into the hotel parking lot. I’m not convinced the street was totally closed off. But she slouched down in her seat and turned bright red.
Once there things went very smooth. We let the kids play in Boston Common. We found an awesome spot around mile 25 and I was able to scream over the crowd “SETH, SETH, SETH!” All while waving one arm like a mad woman and trying to prop Abe over the crowd with my other arm. He heard us, saw us, pointed and then put his fists to his chest and started to cry a bit. It was a really emotional and exciting time. He finished in 2:48, an awesome race for Seth. He was pleased, we were happy, we were going to go get lunch. Seth was going to eat something other than kale and oatmeal!!
We were waiting for a table at Cheesecake Factory when the bombs went off. It was the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. It was like we were in the movies, like you see on the news. I looked out a window into the mall and people were running out looking behind them with terror on their faces. I will never ever forget that. I was sure there was a shooter up there. I was holding Abe and we ran out onto the street to run away, but how do you know where the shooter is? I was so afraid some guy was going to come around the corner and shoot me and my baby. I held Abe in front of my body facing away from the mall hoping a bullet would hit me and not him.
No one knew what was going on. We walked the opposite way we came and seemed to be walking into it. People were crying, sirens everywhere. Today I Google mapped the way we went and at one point we were just standing in the street trying to figure out what to do, there was a street up ahead of us and now I see that is Boylston Street, we really were walking right into it. Luckily we sensed we were wrong so we walked the other way, not sure what was safe, unsure what was happening. Walking the other way we saw people with blood on their shirts. This place wasn’t safe either. Then Amy's sister called and asked where we were and when she told her she told us there had been bombs at the finish line and people were without limbs. She told us to get the fuck out of there. It was only then that the police nearby told us to run in another direction and tons of people just booked it. We ran and ran and ran. We went all the way out to Fenway.
Amy has since described leaving Copley Square as rings of chaos, the further we went out the calmer things were. Finally there weren’t many people around and things were more quiet (except the sirens that were nonstop), we found a bench to sit on and figure out what to do next. This was the first time that I was able to look at my phone. I’m not much of a texter but I had a ton of text messages from worried friends and family. I texted just a few key people knowing they could let others know we were OK. I called my sister knowing she would be put more at ease with a phone call. I could hear the worry in her voice.
While we were sitting on that bench Amy explored the area to find a milestone that her sister could find so she could pick us up. Amy’s son James sat with us looking terrified. Seth told him that this will be a great story to tell his friends. He said, “If I live that long.” Poor James was just so scared. Abe is young enough that he didn’t know we were in trouble. He thought it was great that we were running with the stroller.
Finally Amy’s sister Katy was able to find us and packed all of us and our huge jogging stroller into her PT Cruiser. What a sight to be seen. She brought us to her home in Quincy. We stopped at Panera to eat but it wasn’t until I was in her home that I actually felt safe.
We settled in, Abe fell asleep on me, and we tried to figure out what to do next. It seemed the city was on lockdown and we weren’t sure how to get the car which was in Copley Square. We decided that Katy would bring Seth in and hopefully he could come get us. Of course they wouldn’t let him out of the garage. Amy and I thought of renting a car but the company was closed for the day. We ended up staying at Katy’s house. Her husband went out and bought diapers for Abe (I didn’t have any at all) and bought us all toothbrushes. She set up beds for us, put out pajamas for us, gave us snacks, gave Abe milk. I am so indebted to her.
I think I slept just a couple hours that night. When I did fall asleep I would wake up shortly after shaking and remembering what had happened. Abe slept like a dream.
The next morning Seth was able to get the car and pick us up.
You never think you will be that close. We were 1,000 feet away from the bombs. I feel lucky that Seth ran fast.
I’m probably never going to leave Kennebec County again.