The first bomb hit Boston in the late afternoon of a chilly and overcast day—very much like yesterday, in fact. The malignant, brilliant scarlet of the erupting mushroom cloud illuminated the slate gray sidewalks like a flashbulb on a tired woman's face. For one second the city reached a stunning and beautiful crescendo as each lonely soul was brought finally to glorious light. Then the inevitable fade into dust and entombment among commuter briefcases.
A little further west, we were calm, collected, the usual: an adderall and some taurine, chewing through integrals and masturbatory dissertations, gnawing on our pencils, grinding our teeth, when the first foreboding reports started to emanate from the public safety office downstairs. The rentacops were the only ones who paid attention to CNN in our neck of the woods, and they always turned the volume up to MAX. So it was with perfect sonic clarity that Newscaster Barbie conveyed the news to us with as much emotion as her botox would comfortably allow; I imagined her halo of scrolling stock reports and advertisements continuing their soothing march in the face of total meltdown.
Her composure finally cracked and the air was suddenly thick with prayers and cardiac arrhythmia. Jen and I slammed our books with a tangible air of finality and rushed out of the Harold F. Johnson library, whose initially haphazard construction had never looked more tenuous than today. Even the strong earth under our feet trembled with a dawning uncertainty as the mushroom cloud billowed for miles through the sky.
A strange-smelling rain began to fall, warm—too warm—and Jen lit a cigarette, looking towards the new sunset.