Today I woke up with this weird sense of dread. There would be no marathon, no 11 a.m. baseball. Some days as of late it seems like there’s not much to look forward to. So, I decided to go and do the only thing I know how when I’m feeling hopeless these days— document it.
We drove into the city and decided to stop at my best friend’s apartment — or her stoop I should say — to surprise her with a local beer delivery from home (shoutout Wachusett Brewery) The second I saw her I cried. We’ve been soulmates for ... wow MORE than half our lives now, and I can’t remember a time we’ve ever been apart for this long, not even in college. Just seeing her face in person instead of through a screen felt so good.
As we headed closer to the center of the city, we easily found parking and walked around a bit. The quiet of the city on what is normally Boston’s most proud, raucous day was jarring. My beloved Fenway, normally the host of a Patriot’s Day morning game, was eerily silent. A few security guards lingered outside the gate. Some individual runners hustled by. I overheard some music coming from inside — I think I even caught some Dropkick Murphy’s at one point.
I’ve been to Fenway a million times. The sights, sounds and smells of the ballpark are incredible. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It never gets old. But today — I found myself noticing things about her that I never had. Some old bleacher signs that had been covered up by Green Monster construction. The beauty of the brick facade, normally it’s so overwhelmed by people you forget to stop and look around at how timeless it all is.
The banners weren’t hanging. None of them. The Teammates wore face masks. The vendors were no where to be seen. $50 parking spots were empty. Shamrocks still decorated the windows of bars from St. Patty’s Day, maybe the last day life felt ‘normal’ in Boston.
We moved onto the public garden. The ducklings ... they wore masks. A finish line was drawn in chalk beside them. The swan boats were no where to be seen. They would’ve had nothing to float in anyways — the pond was empty. A statue wore scrubs with the word “hero” printed on the back, in the font of the major Boston sports teams, naturally. Signs in the windows of homes thanked healthcare workers.
The finish line was quiet, too. A news van stood nearby. Boston’s iconic daffodils surrounded the memorial honoring those who died in 2013. Krystle Campbell. Lingzi Lu. 8-year-old Martin Richard. A runner stopped to take a photo of her feet on the paint. Another ran a few circles around the finish line. A ‘still strong’ banner hung in a window.
We should’ve all been there today. This all felt like a lot. A lot of loss. A lot of grieving. A lot of emptiness. But it also felt like a lot of hope. Something similar to the resilience the city saw after the tragedy of 2013. To all the health care workers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, first responders, small business owners, other essential employees and fellow journalists — THANK YOU 🖤 We WILL be there again. Boston is still strong.