This morning as I write this blog post there are still remnants of police tape scattered around my neighborhood and I’m jumping at small noises. After college when BF and I moved to Watertown we did it for two reasons, 1: my sister lived here and we liked the neighborhood, and 2: we felt SAFE here. We were kids from rural towns moving to Boston to live away from college life and rules and wanted to live somewhere residential. BF and I have lived in the same building for almost five years. This is our home.
Two nights ago, we felt differently. We woke up in the middle of the night to a muffled boom, and a staccato noise that made no sense. I, in my half-asleep state, told BF “It’s just thunder, listen for a sec, there’ll be more. Go back to bed.” A few minutes later we heard another boom, and we saw a flash of bright light – then a rapid strobe. I, thinking it was a thunderstorm, went back to sleep. BF tried. but then he heard helicopters flying back and forth over our house, and, out of curiosity went to the source of all things knowledge. The internet. He learned there’d been some sort of bomb or grenade thrown and gunfire. At the end of our block. He woke me up and we went and sat in the living room with the TV on. Waiting for news.
Sometime around 5 am (or so, judging by the time stamp on my FB post) I heard someone on the back stairs. I called to BF and started to cry. He took control, told me to go in the bedroom and hold kittenish. So I did. It was a SWAT team. I could have hugged them from the relief of it being them.
We spent the rest of the day in a tense loop of waiting. Calling family and friends. live tweeting and fb posting the whole experience. At one point our entire house started to shake from helicopter winds, and later another SWAT check of our house. Seeing our normally quiet street crawling with police men and SWAT may have been one of the most scary things I’ve ever gone through. I felt safe, but everything was just too close for comfort.
Throughout our day we followed the news on Reddit, twitter, and occasionally the news. We tracked the police scanner locations like our lives depended on it (they may have) when things were less than a quarter mile from home we “sheltered” in an inner hallway our apartment has, when they were farther out we were planted on our couch avoiding windows.
Then it was 6pm and Gov. Patrick was lifting the shelter in place for Watertown, he told everyone they could go outside and take advantage of the warm evening for a bit. BF and I went for a nap, we were exhausted. We’d been out of bed and wide awake since 2:30am. We said goodbye to BF’s parents, who had been on Skype with us all day, and tried to take a nap. After a bit I could hear kids playing outside and the sound of the helicopters above lessened. I started to doze. Then it started again. Just as we were falling asleep there was a staccato sound, gunfire, only this time we knew what it was.
We heard the location – about 3/4 of a mile from home and retreated back to the hallway. Where we waited. My family called. BF’s family called. And we all played the waiting game. BF could see the helicopters above the arrest scene through the kitchen windows. It was too close. By the time we felt safe enough to go to bed, when the police ban scanner was broadcasting each agency congratulating each other, we had been awake for 20 hours. All BF and I could do at that point was say thank you to the officers that were here – to those men and women who put in extremely long days even under normal circumstances. To every law enforcement agency and first responder that made our town feel like home again. Thank you.
Our town, our community, had made it through something truly trying and shown an amazing amount of resilience. On Sunday BF and I took a walk through Mt Auburn Cemetery with its’ gorgeous spring blooms and stopped of at Arax for a dinner stuff. I’ve never seen it so busy. The owners said it had been that way Saturday as well, a steady stream of people that wanted to support their local stores.
I also want to make sure to thank my AMAZING network. Everyone who emailed, facebooked, tweeted, and in general just sent virtual hugs to my scared, anxious self. I appreciated it so much. It helped add a bit of levity to an otherwise overwhelming day.