I don’t know how a city becomes part of your soul. I’m not even sure I ever knew that could happen. But at 7:30pm on Monday night at the finish line, I saw a firefighter finish his race with his team of colleagues running with him, cheering him to the finish, and I knew I would never call Kentucky home again.
Over the course of the last year I have seen a community come together after tragedy and overcome. I felt the heart of my community a year ago when we fell down together and picked each other up by the necks of our Red Sox t-shirts, gave each other the proverbial butt smack and tried to figure out the next step. And for the last 7 months, I have watched my friend Ellen train through injury and the coldest winter I’ve ever seen so that she could live out her dream to run the Boston Marathon. She was going to run for her city and I was going to be lucky enough to watch her do it. And now that the race has come and gone, I am still here with a deep adoration for this quirky but relentless little city at a depth that can be summed up not by the words I give you, but by the feeling you know if you live here.
There is nowhere else in the world that you can find people standing outside in line, in a blizzard waiting for ice cream. Chances are, you’ve never even seen a real blizzard! In the autumn we put on our sweaters and boots to stand on the banks of the Charles to cheer on our friends rowing in the world’s best regatta. Because when spring came, we saw them practicing on the river and that assured us that life would not end in a frozen tundra. In the spring there is one day…the first really nice day of the year. And that is when all the Bostonians collectively lose their minds and come outside to enjoy our city…with their dogs. In the summer, particularly good summers; we cheer our cursed Red Sox to World Series Championships. You see, year in and year out we cheer for each other. We hold each other up when all is lost and when all is won. We never walk away from our brothers and sisters and we never will. This is the code that we live by. And really, this is also the code that we answer to. Not everyone gets it. Other people don’t know why if you’re from the North End, you have a higher obligation to love your neighbor despite the fact that they stole your parking space last month. Which we all know to be an unforgivable offense. No one mandates this for us. We just happen to know that when you stand together, you cannot truly fall.
I have told the story of how when I first moved here, I was always getting lost. And how whenever I was lost, I just looked to the sky and the Citgo sign always guided me home. I don’t need the sign anymore…well maybe I do. Maybe we all do! We are definitely the sum of all our parts. And damn proud.
Love that dirty water! Boston you’re my home!