It was a horrible week for Americans, especially Bostonians and Texans and anyone who wishes we weren’t giving out guns like party favors. I can only assume the Republic of Chechnya has had better weeks, too. Though maybe not so many, because it seems Chechens have been subjected to one violation of human rights after another for centuries.
The day before the Boston Marathon bombing I saw something that in the moment I thought was pedestrian. It was only later that I realized how significant it was that it felt so prosaic. All this horrible week I’ve replayed the incident in my mind, and I’ve been glad to have it.
I came around a midtown corner in the morning. It was early. So early I still remembered what I’d dreamt in the night. The nearest building was one of those nondescript newspaper gray apartment towers that looks like a soul-sucking office complex but is actually home to hundreds. One of those hundreds had just come out — an old man with a walker. The doorman stood at the curb holding a broom. The old man and the doorman were sharing a laugh. Just beyond them was the next building, a fire house with a group of firefighters standing in front of it. They were drinking coffee from ceramic mugs and talking quietly.
It was just a moment. The doorman was a color. The old man was another. The firefighters were each their own shade. Every one had his own story. But it didn’t matter how or why they all ended up here in this country in this city on this street on this morning. They just did, and now we’re together.
(Photo of one of my favorite novels via here)