You don’t know me. You don’t care about me. You wanted to maim and kill hundreds of my fellow Bostonians, but still, I am grateful to you.
Because you didn’t go off. You were sitting exactly underneath where my boyfriend stood innocently, managing security for the Boston marathon.
Because you didn’t go off, I am not sitting here, trying to piece together how a thirty-two year old mental health counselor would financially support a one-year-old by herself.
Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to worry if my daughter will ever know balance, because the one person who embodies calm and humor and fluidity in our family is still here.
Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to explain to my child how her father used to swing her up in the air and tickle her until she was sick of laughing. I also don’t have to explain to her how I used to hate it, how I would fear he was overstimulating her, and that now I miss it dearly.
Because you didn’t go off, I won’t have to feebly explain to my daughter her late father’s love of California, Hollywood, and all things L.A. He’ll be there to show her around.
Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to search for a second best replacement for a generous man who loves us and his family more than the stars in the sky. A man who knows that if he keeps his lady happy, he’s happy. A man who gives, and gives, and gives.
Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to tell my daughter how her father used to sleep with her on his chest between the hours of nine and two so her mother could get some sleep when she was one month old. He can do that.
Because you didn’t go off, my boyfriend is beside me sleeping peacefully. Breathing in and out.
But because you didn’t go off, I have guilt. Strange guilt, because there are four families out there who never again get to listen to the sound of their loved one’s breathing. You mystify me. Why did the others go off and you didn’t? Was it part of some grand master plan? Or was it just that you weren’t carefully made? Because you failed, I feel guilty. Guilty, because I was lucky. They will not get to cuddle next to their little boy during his nighttime routine again. They will not get to walk their daughter down the aisle. They will not get to listen to their daughter’s dissertation. He will not get to hold his baby when she turns seven months old.
Those bombs went off; but you didn’t.
Strange that I should be grateful to you, a weapon of mass destruction, a symbol of everything sad and hateful and ugly in our society. But I am.
And, because you didn’t go off, here we sit, numb and angry and nightmare-ridden. But at least we get to feel angry. At least we get to dream.
The line between the here and not here is so very, very paper-thin, so very fragile.
And I have you to thank for helping me to see that.