Because this is Boston and We are STRONG!

Guest Author: Heather Araskiewicz

Everyday I commute into Boston, Back Bay specifically for work. My office is located on Arlington Street about 4 blocks from the area where the first explosion happen on Monday. My gym is on Boylston Street just under 2 blocks from the same spot.

Over the past few years Boston has felt like home to me than my actual home in Dracut. I spend most of my waking moments in the Back Bay area. I shop, eat, run and hang out in the neighborhood on a daily basis. A week before the Marathon I was getting ready to go for my lunchtime run when my Ipod decided to stop working. It was a nice day so I took a walk up Boylston Street and stopped at the Apple store to get a new one. I walked up the very sidewalk and past the storefronts where the explosions happened. I distinctly remember passing Sugar Heaven the candy store located in the spot where the first blast happened. I wanted to stop there soon to see if there was anything my nieces might like. Forum the restaurant that has turned out to be ground zero for the second blast is a fairly new restaurant (open about a year) that has outdoor seating. As I passed it right before I reached the Apple store I noticed that the patio was open. I mentally made a note to plan a lunch date there in the next week or so. Within a block or so in each direction of each blast are places I visit frequently, the hair salon where I get my hair cut, the Walgreens where I stop to pick up odds and ends, Crate and Barrel where I stopped so many times to pick up the odd item or gift. Lindt and Lord and Taylor are across the street. I was at Lord and Taylor two weeks ago.

The first year I worked in Boston I came into the office on Marathon Monday and I walked up to the area of the finish line with a friend to check out the festivities. Since then I have taken the day off because navigating the crowds is too much of a challenge. There is no doubt in my mind that had I been in the office I would have gone up that area at some point that afternoon. I know people who ran the Marathon that day and thankfully they are safe. As are their families. My friends were lucky but not every one was.

My office was closed on Tuesday and yesterday there was an odd feeling in the city. There were police and national guard on every corner. Streets were closed and all day long there was the constant wail of sirens. Then the over zealous news began to report that there was an arrest and that set off a series of bomb threats. As my co-worker and I walked to my car which was parked at Tufts Medical Center we started to wonder if we would even be able to get to the car. Other hospitals had been put on lock down and we weren’t sure what would be waiting for us when we got to the lot. Thankfully we were able to get in the car and get the heck out of the city. By the time I got home I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.

Today there was more of a calm feeling over the city. For the first time in days I felt safe venturing out into the city. I can’t explain it but I needed to get out. I needed to walk the streets of the city that I consider my second home and I needed to see for myself that people were ok, that they were going about life and they were living our “new normal”. As I walked up Newbury Street I saw stores with Boston Strong signs in the windows. I saw people shopping, eating at the outdoor restaurants and going about life. Eventually the crime scene will be cleared, the businesses will reopen and life will go on because this is Boston and we are strong!chalk

This post is dedicated to all those affected by Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon…our thoughts, hearts, and prayers are with each of you and your families.

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