The warning came from the Newton Police on my cell, on my husband’s cell, and on my home phone. It was my wake up call this morning- the morning of 4/19. There was a terrorist at large and he could be in Newton- the City in which I live, or in Brookline, Boston, Watertown, Belmont- cities and towns where my children, mother, and friends live. I call my friend and partner in betterafter50.com. She is hunkered down in lockdown in Watertown- the center of the “war zone.”
It is surreal to see local police, state police, local police, FBI, SWAT teams, bomb squads search the town in which Felice and I have spent countless hours working, where I buy my authentic Greek yogurt, where I have stood for hours in line at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, where I took my daughter to get her driving permit, and where I have breathed in the wonderful aroma of Auntie Annie’s pretzels at the Arsenal mall.
I sit in my kitchen with the shades drawn and the TV my constant, annoying companion. I am not scared, yet I’m a bit jumpy. After staying home for an hour, my husband goes to work, and I feel a little uneasy going up to shower. I double-check that the doors are locked. It is a beautiful day, but I am not opening any windows.
Appointments are missed and will have to be rescheduled. There is a terrorist on the loose. A 26 year old MIT security guard has been ambushed and killed in cold blood. A 33 year old MBTA police officer with a 6 month old baby has been shot and is in surgery. A terrorist with a IED device (not an IUD as the channel 7 reporter first reported, ha ha) strapped to his chest has been pronounced dead. SWAT teams go door to door.
Dogs bark, bullet holes are examined, explosive devices are thrown out of car windows. On the bullhorn: If you are in there, come out. If you are in there, come out. But no one is in there. Blackhawk helicopters hover overhead.
The suspect, Dzhoker Tsarnaev, is described by his father as an “angel,” and by his uncle, a “disgrace.” His high school friends and mentors are shocked. Dzhoker, the terrorist, is a handsome young man. He took AP classes. He is the kind of kid my kids would have been friends with, the kind of kid I probably would have invited into my home for dinner. At least two years ago he was.
One daughter calls from Stuttgard. Another from Bangkok. They want to make sure we are all ok. How ironic, I think- if I were to worry about any of them today, I guess I should worry most about the kid in Brookline. He went out for a walk in the late afternoon.
I busy myself making granola bars, cleaning closets and writing. Real time drama is not over in 50 minutes. It takes a very, very long time. By early afternoon, there is no new news, and I have seen the video of the 92 shots fired like firecrackers in the middle of the night, the interview with the car mechanic, with the uncle, with John Kerry, at least 10 times, yet I cannot turn the TV off.
We are just waiting for this to be over. Enough already. In an age where things seem to happen at lightening speed, this is life in slow motion.