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17 April 2013 @ 04:19 am
I know I can't look at pictures  
But news vans leave parking spaces sprouting rows of satellite dishes and a section of Comonwealth's strip was clogged with them.  Empty camera stands, cords and aimless producers turn sidewalks into obstacle courses.  Clusters of police in neon are hanging out on street corners as pedestrians clump in intersections to stare down blocked off streets.  Whiffs of ammonia and sulfur ride the wind.  Spring showers came and went and splattered pavement was dry by the time I made it back home.

It feels like a disaster zone, even if all we see is the human jumble of reaction.  It weighs heavy, I can't explain it.  It's all the more surreal because the shops here are rich, upscale brands and window displays that are art and scream of a lifestyle so far removed from the poor college students we are.  I'm so used to them I find it quaint, I live here now and I lived here 10 years ago.  I'm comfortable here, this building, this section of the city and I are old friends.  I open the door of our brownstone like it's home because it is, but this is a frat grandfathered in and we're not part of the world of our neighbours.  It's so easy for forget.

I wonder what it feels like for them.  The ones who don't see those storefronts as backdrop, but as destinations.  I wonder if the city has changed for them too.  If the stores feel as empty, are as empty, because we're all on the street reacting, if our collective beat has moved outside trying to remember what most of us didn't see, listening for what most of us didn't hear.

12 hours before the bombs went off I walked past that spot.  Just before they exploded I decided to be lazy and not go to the store.  I could have been on the spot.  I wasn't.  The facts don't bother me, but they're true nonetheless.  12 hours before homeless slept in doorways and loiterers ghosted walls, a couple peeling away to follow me for a block, to the corner.  I wonder if that was them, keeping watch.  I doubt it.  But someone must have been walking past when it was going down.  Just like so many made small decisions to stand here or slow down there, and were in the wrong place or anywhere else.

ETA: Most of the neon-yellow is gone.  Police are kitted out in black, I saw rifles.  There is camo.  I think the military are here as well.  I saw no women.  The library is in the no-go zone, I wound up on a meandering path, and my concluding thought was annoyance: the grocery store is much harder to get to.  This thought feels wrong, yet right.  Life goes on.  I need to eat.  I have to walk, not drive.