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Boston Marathon 2013 :: A Sequence of Events


I write, therefore I am.
That’s something I just came up with right… then.
I expect for this to be something of a stream.
You see, right now we’re running it. We’re shoulder deep.
The stream is carrying us. Away we go.
Then a hand pulls us up and we’re standing ashore.
Drip drying.
Looking into the stream where once we were carried, we see our reflection.
This is how we begin to reflect on a sequence of events.

April 15th, 2013

At 2:46 PM a student says, “Onomatopoeia.”

He says this out of nowhere, for no reason.

I try to turn this into a quick vocab lesson.

I say, “Do you know what that means.”
He says, “Nuh-uh.”

I write on my whiteboard the first onomatopoeia that comes to mind:


I say, “Words that imitate sounds.”
He says, “Oh.”

At 4:26 PM I’m wearing sunglasses, walking home from work, when you call.

“Did you hear about Boston?” you say.
“No,” I say.
“Bombs went off in the Boston Marathon. People were hurt.”
“Runners got bombed?” I say.
“Yeah. It’s all over the news. No one mentioned it at work?”
“No,” I say
“Everyone around me had laptops. We were in class when it happened. Two were killed.”

After hanging up I think of praying without actually praying. I think about the Boston Marathon runners, my thoughts are going out to them, but I don’t actually pray.

I get back to my commute, walking home.

I begin to forget about the Boston Marathon runners/spectators seconds after I try to remember to pray for them, as if prayer requires stasis.


At home I immediately take off my collared shirt and corduroys and put on a pair of shorts.

I pour water in a cup, drink it, and pour more water.

I go into the study, open the blinds, and sit down at the desk.

I enter my password into my phone, check my usual spots on the internet, and find a gif of the Boston marathon.

I remember how you said there was a bomb.

I hesitate. Do I want to see this gif? Will seeing it help me understand more? These thoughts play around in my cortex, but just for a second.

I touch the icon on my phone’s screen and the gif gets bigger and starts to do its thing, which is looping over the same expanse of time, over and over.

This gif is ~4 seconds long, the same four seconds. 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4…

Everything is fine for about a second, everything is in order. Runners are reaching the finish line, spectators are watching, flags are waving just like flags wave. Then, boom.

A singularity. A Black Swan. An event that changes the landscape of humanity forever. How many more times is this going to have to happen before people see what is right and what is wrong?

I can’t watch this gif too much.

The shock of seeing the closest runner to the blast spasm backward from the shockwave and then collapse to the pavement is too great.

I see the closest runner roll ~3 times before the gif loops.

Boom. Spasms. Falls. Rolls.
Boom. Spasms. Falls. Rolls.
Boom. Spasms. Falls. Rolls.
Boom. Spasms. Falls. Rolls.

Something like 20 seconds have elapsed.

My eyes wander from the falling runner then see the clock behind the finish line:


The boom happens between 4:09:43 and 4:09:44.

My eyes wander to Channel 7.

It’s 3:19

It’s 47°

The news titles this segment:


The big picture occurs to me.

I’m watching the gif someone made out of ~4 seconds of Channel 7 news.

I feel like I’m watching a person very alive, about to finish running 26.2 miles, running for four hours and nine minutes, excited to see the finish line within throwing distance, and I am watching that person, but I’m also watching a person taking his body to the limits, endorphins streaming through his circulatory system, on top of the world, get jolted violently to what looks like his death, a victim of something that never should happen.

No one deserves this.

I open my netbook, sip water, and wake my netbook.

I place my fingers on the keyboard, sip more water, and go to TheOpenEnd.

I’m prepared to write a prayer for everyone around the finish line of the Boston Marathon 2013.

A prayer for those killed.

A prayer for those injured.

A prayer for their families and friends.

A prayer for everyone watching the Boston Marathon and not physically there.

A prayer for all the people who saw it on some kind of screen.

May all of us cope with what we have lossed.

April 15, 2013 7:11 pm

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