I normally don't watch the news, because it's too upsetting for my sensitive constitution. So I found out about the bombing on Monday via Twitter. I have a very small house. I set up my four-year-old with some cartoons in the living room and holed up in my bedroom with the news and my phone. He kept coming in every few minutes. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not allowed in my room because I was "doing grown-up stuff" that he wasn't allowed to see or hear.
After the 20th time he came in, I finally told him I was watching the news. "What's the news?" he asked. We have a zero-tolerance policy for lying in this house, so I told him, "Some people in Boston got hurt. You don't need to see it."
All week, I was on pins and needles, just like the rest of you, I'm sure. I recall hearing something on TV about a shooting at MIT on Thursday night just before I went to bed. I thought, Really? After all that's happened this week? Who would do that? Then Friday happened.
The boy woke me up around 7:30. My husband got up around 8:00. When he came out into the living room, he told me that he received an email that the Cambridge branch of his office was closed (he works at another branch). He then went online and learned that... well, he couldn't really say, because our son was right there. And the boy can spell now, so we can't even spell words to each other unless we do it really fast. Which is hard when you're tired. He gave me the vague impression that there was something going on with the bombers, one was dead, and something about Watertown. I went outside to catch up on my phone.
We reconvened and briefed each other on what we'd learned. They killed the MIT cop. They hijacked a car. They were brothers. One was dead. The other was on the lam. You know all of that. We assumed that "Suspect Number Two" would be caught any minute now. I set the boy up with a laptop and some video games, and retreated to the bedroom to watch the news and monitor Twitter.
I felt like it was my responsibility to keep everyone outside of Massachusetts updated on what was going on. I trusted the local media, who was on the scene,. We all know what a clusterfuck CNN has become this past week. I have out-of-towners who care about me, and about my state as a whole. There are people who had loved ones out here who they couldn't get in touch with. It was my job to keep them all apprised of the situation.
An hour later, my husband left for work. I spent the morning, and a good part of the afternoon, running back and forth between the bedroom and living room. My son didn't mind at first, because he got to play video games. After a while, he started coming into the bedroom and asking me what I was doing. I put him off a few times. Finally, I told him, "Remember on Monday, when I spent a lot of time in the bedroom? Because people in Boston got hurt? Well, they got hurt by two bad guys. The police caught one of the bad guys, and they're about to catch the other one. I want to make sure they catch him." He told me he wanted to punch the bad guy (he's started karate and his superhero phase at the same time, ouch). I told him that wasn't necessary, as the police had it under control.
I got the impression that they had the bomber surrounded. Hours passed. Nothing. Then, police issued a BOLO for a green Civic in Connecticut. Wait a minute, did he get out of Watertown? Do they think he's in Connecticut? What the hell is going on?
I finally got sick of waiting for information. I noticed that it was 76 degrees outside- the nicest day we've had this year. I decided to go out and do some gardening and let the boy run off some energy. Then, my husband called to say that he was coming home from work (almost five hours early).
I hung out in the living room with my son for a while. At one point, he came up to me out of the blue and held out his empty hands. "I have a gun. I want to give it to the police, so they can get the bad guy." I told him that was nice of him, but they had it under control. "But this gun has a scope!" he insisted. "So they can see the bad guy!" Sigh. I shouldn't have told him anything. I gave him a snack and lectured him about how these were real bad guys; not the Joker, and the police were real superheros, and they would take care of it on their own. I reiterated that it was very nice of him to want to help, but the police had it under control and he shouldn't worry about it anymore.
My husband came home, and the whole family went outside. I gardened. The boys played with bubbles and a toy airplane. It started to get windy and cloudy, and we decided to head inside. My husband sent the boy to his room for a nap and suggested that I go to Target, which I'd planned to do that morning. An errand alone? You don't have to tell me twice. I didn't even shower. I took off covered in dirt and sunblock.
I didn't get far before anxiety set in. If they think he might be in Connecticut, I reasoned, he could be anywhere. My town is way closer to Watertown than Connecticut is. What if he's here? I tried to tell myself that I was being paranoid, but we all know that doesn't work. I found myself scanning the streets as I drove.
There was a distinct air of unease at Target. Or maybe it was just me. I made eye contact with every single person in the store, something I rarely do with anyone. There was a particular brand of lotion that I couldn't find, so I stopped at CVS on the way home. Just as I put the car into park, I heard a siren. I looked up, and every single person in the area- in the parking lot, on the sidewalks, in cars- they all stopped dead in their tracks and watched. It turned out to be just a minor car accident, but I have never in my life seen a reaction to a siren quite like that.
I came home and asked my husband for the update. Nothing. How could they have lost him? How has this not ended yet? Then they lifted the shelter-in-place order. I was baffled. They have no idea where this guy is, and they're just letting people leave their houses? Are they crazy? Who's going to leave their house?
The boy woke up, and we had to stop watching the news. After a couple hours of frowning and shaking our heads, I got a tweet from my friend Mom With Her Running Shoes On, who lives in California.
@jennsmthngclvr what are they saying over there? Anything confirmed?
— Running Mama (@mominrunshoes) April 19, 2013
I ran back to the bedroom and turned on the TV. This is when we learned that he was cornered on the boat. I spent the next hour running around, trying to watch the news, cook two dinners, and tweet and Facebook my friends outside of Massachusetts all at the same time. As soon as the boy went to bed, the news was back on the big TV. I tried to watch, eat and tweet simultaneously. It was tough.
Finally, it happened. The standoff lasted almost two hours, but they finally got him. My husband was peeing at the time, and I was yelling through the bathroom door at him. I'm not sure it registered with me just how scared I was until it was over. My husband still thinks I'm silly, since we're really not that close to Watertown. But my son and I were in Newton on Thursday. On his birthday, on January 31st, the three of us had lunch at Friendly's in Watertown, two blocks from the scene of the crime. It may not have been that close, but it was way too close for me.