In the wake.
At first there is confusion, then disbelief and the scrambling search for what is true, what is real, what is happening. The tiny beating hope that the rumors are mistaken.
I thought there were things reporters weren't supposed to say on the news so as not to incite panic, things like there is so much blood and missing limbs. The comparison to a war zone. The looping video of explosions followed by smoke followed by a second explosion, all soundtracked by screaming, the very specific sound of chaos. Each time my gaze went up, following those three yellow balloons tied together as they ascended above the site of the first explosion, hovering nearby as though waiting.
Driving home, I listened to NPR, which consisted of the same information and confusion I'd heard on WBZ. At a stop light in Inman, I rolled the window down despite the chill, wanting to be in the same air as those around me, wanting to hear the voices coming from the car to my right.
Each night after work, my thoughts usually go to the next day, mentally preparing for work, counting down to the weekend. But Monday night there was none of that, just the tunnel vision of right then, right after. When the news got to be too much and we'd seen the same scene 20 times, when I'd checked Facebook more in a half hour span than I usually do in a month, we went for a walk, if just to see the world as it was right then rather than as we'd last seen it on TV.
It's been a beautiful couple of days here, the much anticipated spring is unfolding petals everywhere. What appear to be dead trees and bushes, upon further inspection, are brimming with green, with signs of regrowth where none had been the day before. This season is usually a refreshing one, but this time around it is a comfort, a reminder that in the wake of a gray and bitter winter there is life just underneath, waiting to begin anew.