Wicked

As in every tragedy that is covered by 24-hour news channels, Twitter, Facebook, the Vine, as well as by newspapers struggling to keep up, the information output following the bombing in Boston became repetitions, overwhelming, confusing, sometimes perfectly accurate, but often missed the voice of the average Bostonian living through days of fear and frustration.

However, such a voice could be found in former local resident Dawn Anderson.

In an e-mail to a friend who shares it with "The Citizen," she writes:

"'Wicked' is an adverb we use a lot in Boston. It can add the perfect emphasis to just about any sentence.

On April 15, something truly wicked came to our city. My city.

The bombings and subsequent events stunned, sickened and saddened me, as it did the city of Boston, the nation and much of the world.

The local, state and federal law enforcement presence in downtown Boston where I work resembled something out of a big-budget action movie. Helicopters buzzing. Sirens screaming. Media trucks humming.

The familiar suddenly had turned foreign.

It's different when this type of horrific event happens where you live, work and play. It just is. This felt personal. More than any other emotion, I felt anger. Anger about the senseless loss of life and limb. Anger about the tainting of our beautiful city. Anger towards those sick, misguided individuals - "townies" to boot - responsible for inflicting so much pain and suffering.

Adding insult to injury, Bostonians love this time of year most. The city blooms in so many ways. We crawl out of our offices at lunchtime and stroll around the Common and Public Gardens, sensing that first faint whiff of lilac. We lift our heads to admire the golden gleam of the State House dome. The sidewalk caf├ęs on Newbury Street open. The Marathon happens, bringing with it all of those hopes and dreams. Our beloved Red Sox take the field at Fenway Park. We simply come alive again.

Two days after the bombings I went for a run along the winding Esplanade, in preparation for the upcoming Pittsburgh Half Marathon. The sunlight danced on the Charles River. The runners, including some marathoners, outnumbered the walkers tenfold. I crossed over the Mass. Ave. bridge onto Memorial Drive and into Cambridge. That vantage point affords the best view of the Back Bay, and some might argue, the city. Wind at my back and (thankfully) under my feet, I just felt better. We're gonna be OK, I thought.

On May 5, alongside one of my dearest childhood friends, I will once again run 13.1 miles across the bridges, over the hills and through the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

This time, however, I will do it with a heightened sense of purpose, a renewed appreciation for life, and with any luck-wicked fast.

[Dawn Anderson (Avonworth '93) works as a senior editor at Boston-based American Public Television. She lived in Pittsburgh for 12 years and graduated from Penn State University.]


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