The boy was caught at night. 22 hours of traffic control was finally lifted. People of Watertown cheered as the police car drove away. The great city of Boston, after a day of reathe-taking twitter updates, finally gasped for some air.
It was Friday. Shelter-in-place was at order. Despite the criminal scene I heard from Cambridge and Watertown area, my street at the Brookline/Boston border was Ok. 2pm, I was short of food. Walking out in the street, the sun was bright and warm. The daffodils bloomed beautifully next to the Saint Marie's train station. Some people were jogging, some walking their dogs. The street looked like on one of those lazy holidays when there was no traffic and stores were closed. An old lady walked up to me:
"The supermarkets are all closed."
"Yeah, bad luck." I glanced over the Trader Joe's tote I carried.
"I don't have any food at home. I'm starving."
"Yep. Me too." I looked over to the other side of the street, "Not sure if the diners over there are open."
Then I saw some people walking into Sichuan Gourmet, restaurant of my hometown cuisine where I'm a regular.
"Oh Sichuan Gourmet is open!" I claimed in cheer, "Let's go there!"
"Oh no, no. I can't afford that... I just want a candy bar or something..." She was a little flustered.
As we crossed the street, I said, "I can treat you the lunch. It's Ok."
It soon became obvious that she was not familiar with Chinese restaurant at all. She was thinking of bread and coffee, anything basic in her mind that could be cheap. I was glad to introduce her about the food and the Chinese dining etiquette, just thought it could be exotic for her. At the same time, the TV went on and on about the suspect at large. His aunt living in Toronto was very upset in front of the camera. She couldn't believe it was him. My guest sitting across the table hooked her eyes on TV. She couldn't read the small text on the screen, so I read the screen line by line to her.
"You know, if I had a day off like today, I really would rather sitting in the library." She said.
She seemed to be an intelligent lady. She said she studied economics. "I read this from a book, eal poor people won't go for terrorism, because they are too stressed to make their own living." She told me she worked at a place in Malden during the weekdays, then in Watertown during the weekends. She commutes everyday. This weekend she was supposed to get her paycheck from her Watertown employer. But now with the shelter in place order, she might miss her payment.
"You know, terrorism isn't meant to kill people. It's meant to intimidate us and separate us. It's meant to make us distrust our people and our government, so we would all live in isolation and fear." She said.
The waitress brought the check and the fortune cookies. She was excited. She opened hers and asked me to read for her:
"Your day is stored with unexpected surprise."
"What's yours?" she couldn't wait.
It's a bit cheesy, but I have to admit I also enjoy reading fortune cookies. Mine says:
"The greatest achievement is selflessness."
"Ha! That's us!" She fluttered her arms, "You fed me. You're a surprise to me. And your selflessness is your greatest achievement." She paused a little, "Sorry I didn't ask earlier. What's your name?"
"What does it mean?"
"It means the sail. The sailboat. What's your name?"
"I'm Irene. I was born during World War II. My parents gave me this name. It means peace."
The rain drops started to fall at midnight, washing away the dirt on the bushes. The street in front of my apartment was again bustled with the train, the cars and the motorcycles. It was a Friday night in the middle of April. The manhunt was over.
Boston rallied and cheered, with Red Sox resuming the game the next day. Copley Square is still closed for investigation, when all the trees around the city suddenly blossomed in the spring breeze. The boy is going to face his own deeds. I'm relieved, but sad at the same time. It's tough.
"How can you feel sad for a terrorist/child killer/murder?!?!"
"Because he's human. He's not immune to feelings and clearly is in a world of pain."