Terror in Boston and my refuge

Rene Pastor
It was the same feeling I went through on 9/11 nearly a dozen years ago. It is the kind of flashback that is simply horrific.

NEW JERSEY, USA – It was déjà vu all over again. I know former New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra said that. I shouldn’t use, but it just fits.

I was looking at the TV screen of the explosions in Copley Square in Boston and a sickening nausea came over me. It was the same feeling I went through on 9/11 nearly a dozen years ago. It is the kind of flashback that is simply horrific.

The news stations said there were 10 Filipinos who took part in the marathon on April 15 – the day when everyone here is supposed to pay their income tax. Thankfully, everyone appeared to be safe. A Philippine flag waved forlornly on the TV screen after the blasts.

INJURED. A man is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured by one of two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon near Copley Square on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash/Getty Images/AFP

Although I live in New Jersey, I love that part of Boston.

I would get off at the Back Bay station after taking the Amtrak train from New York a couple of times a year. I would then start walking toward Copley Square a few blocks away on a road that sloped down and took me past the Marriott in the area.  

Copley is a spacious plaza which glimmers in the late summer. The cobblestones look ancient and I wonder if they were around when the British were still here over 200 years ago.

My steps are taking me to Newbury Street, a tony road chock full of pricey bistros and bars. A block or two after the Square, I turn left into the street.

My destination is Newbury Guest House, a small hotel/inn in the middle of the road and almost a mile from Fenway Park, the home field of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

Newbury Guest House is very much like a bed and breakfast. It is cozy, has spacious beds and a flat screen TV. The breakfast of cereal is decent, but it has no mini-bar so if I needed a snack at night, I had to get out and go to the nearest deli.

Every time I went to Boston, I always had to go through Copley Square. They would run the marathon there in the spring and I would go in the late summer when the heat would give way to mild afternoons and cool evenings.

You see, I would go to Boston to watch a baseball game because the Red Sox are my favorite team. One time, I took along my daughter. Other times, I would be alone.

The reason I go to Fenway is because I love baseball more than I do basketball. I am not a Yankee fan. I gravitated toward the Red Sox, who until they won the title in 2004 had failed to win a championship in 86 years or all the way back to 1918.

Fenway is the oldest ballpark in America. It opened in 1912 roughly around the time the Titanic sank in the north Atlantic. I suppose you can say that is a bad omen.

For me, Copley Square and Newbury and Fenway Park is a sanctuary from all the problems I have with the world.

It is a place where I go to get myself lost in watching a simple game of catch and hitting a ball. Two bombs on a cool spring morning buried that refuge, possibly for good. – Rappler.com


Rene Pastor is a freelance journalist who worked with the news agency Reuters for nearly 23 years. He graduated with a Masters degree in International Affairs from the New School in New York city and received a bachelor of arts in Communications from the Ateneo de Manila University. Rene is also a lecturer at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey.

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