Where Were You?
The Medium Writing Prompt
2542

The Day Boston was on Lockdown

At 5:15am I woke up to a text from my mother telling me my life was in immediate danger and to turn on the news. Like the obedient 30-year-old I was, I did as I was instructed and started panicking.

I found out the entire city of Boston was cancelled while hundreds of trained professionals continued their hunt for the armed and dangerous madman who was undoubtedly hiding in or around my apartment building. Being one of those people who freeze up in the face of danger, I decided the best course of action would be to sit tight. Like, as tight as possible. I didn’t move or take unnecessarily deep breaths for the first few hours I was awake.

My morning Bar Method class was called off, as was work, so I proceeded to watch the news. Without blinking. For 4 hours straight. I convinced myself the suspect was probably hiding in my building’s stairwell, and therefore — when I started moving again — checked my front door every 10 minutes to make sure it was locked.

I proceeded to talk to everyone I knew about where they’d be hiding if they were on the run. Are you aware that all of your friends and family are experts in fugitive hiding spots? Turns out mine are so I assume yours are too. I started yelling to the FBI operatives on my TV screen as if they could hear me: “Double check manholes, empty subway tunnels, suspicious looking pizza delivery boys and also my apartment building’s stairwell!” I suggested helpfully.

Of course I hadn’t been grocery shopping so my kitchen was completely devoid of anything edible. In all honesty though, my adrenaline was so high I barely noticed. I managed to ration a protein bar in case I needed energy to scale down the fire escape. (Just kidding. I don’t have a fire escape. That day I was just completely confident I could scale down the side of my building from seven floors up a la Spiderman.)

Around 4:15 I started going stir-crazy. My studio is 300 square feet and between me and my ever-building anxiety, the space was starting to feel cramped. I started thinking a walk around the block wouldn’t kill me, but then I allowed the news anchors to terrify me into believing it would. I pulled the dresser in front of the door and opened a bottle of wine.

I drank every time someone on the news said Chechnya. (I quickly realized I could only drink a sip each time lest I run out of alcohol too quickly.)

At 6pm the “shelter in place” order was lifted. Although they hadn’t caught the guy yet, I ran out of my apartment with reckless abandon because I missed the outdoors and because I was starving. I went to dinner at one of the only open restaurants in Boston and proceeded to stand in line for about an hour and a half.

Seeing as how about 200 other hungry Bostonians and myself had just managed to congregate -- which we all pledged not to do upon the terms of our release -- everyone was refreshing their phone every second or two for updates on the manhunt. (When we weren't staring uncomfortably at our phones with furrowed brows, we were staring at each other uncomfortably with furrowed brows wondering if anyone resembled the guy we’d been looking at on our TVs all day.)

While I was at dinner, they caught Tsarnaev hiding in a boat out in the suburbs. I’m sure there was cheering and feelings of relief, excitement and justice… but weirdly enough, I don’t remember that part.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Charlotte Garden’s story.