Near Misses

After 9/11, Ani DiFranco wrote this incredible spoken word poem titled Self Evident, in which she captures what I’ve been feeling over the past few days:

and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

These near misses are what continue to haunt me and keep replaying in my head when I do sleep. Since Monday, I’ve had a recurring dream of running down Boylston but as running dreams almost always go, my legs won’t work and I’m stuck in place. In awake life, I keep revisiting how close it was for so many people. Most years, one of my dearest friends stands where the second explosion went off. She couldn’t make it this year and I cheered for her boyfriend at 22 instead. I forgot to grab my Charlie Card when leaving Vermont on Sunday and thus didn’t head straight downtown to watch the finish. Two years ago, my entire family stood at the finish line waiting for me, with extra family members around because we were headed to a funeral after the race.

A few friends came into town last night and shared their Boston stories; I was supposed to see them after the race downtown, but when the explosions happened, our plans changed. One had been standing at the finish line but went to grab something to eat, leaving another friend waiting for his brother to cross the finish line. Terrence was way too close for comfort when the bombs went off. When we finally reached him at 6:30, the words “we made it to cover” were of little comfort.

But that’s what makes what happened on Monday scary. If you run or love someone who runs, we’ve all been standing at that finish line. We all narrowly averted disaster.

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