My 5-year-old daughter keeps interrupting me.
“Look, there’s the doctor’s office.”
“Mommy, Target. We’re going there today.”
“Hey, it’s the Watertown Mall.”
“I see Daddy’s office.”
The scenes of our daily life keep flashing across the TV. She doesn’t understand why. I’ve yet to explain to her that we’re not going to Target because its parking lot is serving as a command post in the manhunt for a bombing suspect. I’m not even sure how to even begin to explain that one.
I’m writing this essay on my living room couch because we’re not supposed to leave the house. We got a call at 6 a.m. this morning from the City of Cambridge about a “Code Red.”
Now we’re “sheltering in,” a term we had never heard of before this morning, but one everyone in Boston has now heard repeated again and again. Now, it is just hours of waiting. Moments of tension, then more waiting.
We live on what is usually a major street, and yet it’s been seemingly forever since a car or pedestrian has passed by. The streets and sidewalks are empty. It’s the eerie silence of a city shutdown.
The lockdown gives you time to think. I’ve run into that 7-Eleven for gum. We’ve driven that stretch of Memorial Drive more times than I could ever count. I thought about taking my girls (1 and 5) to see the marathon on Monday, but decided it was too cold. These are things that run through your mind as you look at the seemingly mundane locations of your life as B-roll of national newscasts.
The situation is unsettling, but I also can’t help but feel fortunate. We’re living like this for a day. There are places in the world that live this way every day.
We’re home, safe, spending the morning reassuring family and friends of that fact.
My husband, who has been known to work at the office late, came home at a reasonable hour Thursday night. My months – years – of working to persuade him to come home earlier have finally paid off. His Watertown office is less than a block from last night’s shootout. He’s here with us instead of spending the night locked into his office. We keep seeing his building on the TV and hearing the address over the police scanner feed.
Thursday morning, I made the trek into Boston for work, exiting on Boylston, just blocks from where Boston history was forever altered. Aside from an increased security presence, the reality is that the resolve of Boston felt stronger than ever.
As someone who lived in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, I can’t say that my innocence was lost on Monday. Still, you can’t help but be rocked by events of this magnitude when they take place – in the case of my husband’s office, literally – in your backyard.
Maria Burns Ortiz is a freelance sports journalist, chair of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Sports Task Force, and a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. Follow her on Twitter: @BurnsOrtiz