Moments in Boston

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I knew Boston and I were meant to be when, at my first Red Sox game with my father, a man wearing a “Playboy” shirt spilled a cup of ice cold Budweiser down my back. Actually, at the time I’m not sure I knew that’s why I would come to fall hopelessly in love with Boston, but I was seventeen, and thought my father believed me when I told him “I had never had a sip of beer”. It was sweltering at Fenway, and I had to sit on a spare shirt just to keep my legs from sticking to the chipping green seats, but I sat, content, watching baseball soaked in beer with my old man.

Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good.

Growing up, Mass General Hospital felt like a second home. When my brother was sick, my mom would pick me up from kindergarten, and we’d drive what felt like ten hours into the center of Boston to visit him. When you’re little, everything takes ten hours. I would bring an accumulation of smudged and gluey “get well soon cards” along with the stickers I’d collected from the doctor’s visits to put on the end of his bed. The nurses at Mass General never minded the loud little girl who constantly plastered Little Mermaid stickers all over hospital property. In a world filled with masks, tubes, and beeping sounds, you would think a six year old would have felt out of place, but not in Boston. Fifteen years after my brother passed away, I still consider Mass General a large part of what makes the city feel like home.

It was like Disney Land, but with ice cream. And stickers.

My best friend and I took a “road trip” to Boston when we were 18.  I say “road trip” because we thought we were embarking on a day full of independent badassery, when really, we were only driving 40 minutes south. Meghan wanted to go for the ballet, and I wanted to go on an adventure. This would become a constant in our friendship. We filled the tank with gas, our stomachs with iced coffee, and hit the wide-open road in my white ford focus.

We thought we were SO cool, but an hour and half later we were SO lost. We found ourselves driving the wrong way up a one-way street, wrestling each other for the steering wheel, and trying to explain to my father through laughing and crying fits over the phone that we had no clue where we were going.

We were not cool. Boston took us in anyway.

The line for Mike’s Pastry on a daily basis is always longer than the line to get into Best Buy on Black Friday, but I’ve never missed a stroll down the cobble stone walk ways in the Italian North End to scoff down a cannoli…or three. My family and I would wait in that impossibly long line just to have a taste of sweet fresh ricotta stuffed into crisp hand made shells. We always fought for the table by the window. Covered in powdered sugar and chocolate chips, you’d think we were hoarding desserts in preparation for a long winter hibernation.

“Cannolis, party of five?”

There’s something about Boston. It always feels like home, even when it doesn’t. Even when the city tries to love you and you have no intention of loving it back, it will win you over. I had been home from my six-month journey to Australia for ONE day when my friends dragged me to Boston for an impromptu birthday celebration. I was jet lagged, exhausted, and sad to be home. The last place I wanted to be was in some crowded Harvard bar surrounded by jagged accents, forced into making small talk with strangers wearing backwards baseball hats.

They would pronounce my name “CAHHHLEY.”

Like a scene from Good Will Hunting, some guy would ask me out for coffee, and I’d suggest eating a bunch of caramels.

“…Because when you think about it, it’s as arbitrary as drinking coffee.

But that’s Boston. It knows where you’ve been, and doesn’t care much where you’re going, because you’re here now. That’s what matters.  You’ll have a good time whether you like it or not. Every time I enter the city, I inhale a new kind of excitement, and when I leave I exhale relief.

Until next time, Boston.

There will be no shortage of journalists, and bloggers, and starving artists, and writers, and every day people over the upcoming weeks detailing the tragedy in Boston. I hope there is never a shortage of people willing to write when there is a desperate need for human compassion and understanding. I hope the amount of people brave enough to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, or lips to a microphone with hopes of reaching one soul never lessens. There will be moments for us all over the next five, ten, twenty years, where evil finds us and threatens our sanctuary. There will be moments where stare at the television, tears in our eyes, praying to whatever deity we may or may not believe in that if we can just get through this one thing, we’ll stop cursing. We’ll stop smoking. We’ll stop lying. We’ll stop drinking whiskey. We never mean it, but it’s there. That deep down urge to halt everything just to have that moment of inner peace.

It is in our most desperate moments, we must remember the moments that mean the most to us. There is good in this world, and we must find it. We must remember the good moments. These are the moments that will carry us through the ash, and the rubble, and the fire. These moments, which have been camouflaged as commonplace, are the moments that we should remember most of all.

Because with spare shirts on hot sticky days, and stickers, and ice cream. With the cannolis, the laughter, and the adventure. With the spilled beer at baseball games, backwards caps, and finding somebody else who can quote Good Will Hunting, we really do have everything we need.

We have it all, and nobody can take that away from us.

Boston, thank you for the moments.

NOTE: My heart goes out to everyone affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy. I was fortunate, and all of my family and friends in the area were safe and unharmed. Thank you to everyone who emailed and checked in, I am truly grateful for you all. If you need somebody to talk to, as always, please feel free to reach out to me: carley {at} findingravity {dot} com

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16 thoughts on “Moments in Boston

  1. Pingback: Moments to Remember. | Stars and Rainbows

    • Thank you, Cassie! I wish I could be home, it sucks feeling so far away from everything. BUT, New York has been SO supportive. I don’t think I truly felt at home here until I saw how many people came together for this. Thanks for reading. xo

  2. Excellent article., your memories, those are the things that can’t be taken away, Your love and passion for the people and places can never be taken away… good for you Carley. I Love the line, ” We have it all, and nobody can take that away from us.” and that’s the truth of it
    Love Mum

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