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Barndollar: A trial unfolds

By Hadley Barndollar
Last week, I watched the April 15, 2013, surveillance video from inside the Marathon Sports store on Boylston Street. I watched windows shatter with shards dissolving into the jagged air. Bystanders ripped t-shirts off racks, using them as tourniquets for the injured on the blood-stricken sidewalk. This was a video the public had not seen before.
This video forced me to put myself at the scene, more than ever before. Boylston Street has been a destination for me my entire life, living 35 minutes outside of Boston in a nearby suburb.
Sometimes I imagine how the explosions would have surged in my own ears. What the smoke would have tasted like in my throat. And would I have frozen, overcome by smoldering fear? I like to think my instinct would have propelled outward, lending a hand in any way that I could.
But I only remember the way I felt on the phone with my family, watching crimson words run across a TV screen: petrified.
Almost two years later, the trial has begun. And I’ve found myself shifting the focus from Tsarnaev to the gripping narratives being told on the stand. The survivors are the face of this trial, not Tsarnaev. He is no longer a Rolling Stone cover.
I hated him. For the following months, I fixated on the monster that he was. I remember the fear he instilled in me, nearly 70 miles away in New Hampshire during April of my freshman year.
I spent the next New Year’s in Copley Square, and things felt different. My eyes were fixated on the overwhelming police presence, completely aware of every single being around me. Shoulders nudged my sides as people moved through the congested crowd; I felt caged. These were feelings I had never experienced before in my home city.
I looked for oversized bags, counting down to midnight with the fear that a bomb would detonate when the clock struck 12. But it didn’t. Celebration ensued. And I felt a stillness in my soul. A thankfulness.
It’s a process, I guess. As the trial progresses, our emotions will waver. Boston will tremor, evidence will stun, and ultimately, we hope justice will be served. As a journalist, I’ve been dissecting the trial from a media perspective. Boston news outlets have provided incredible play-by-play narration of the trial each day. Now, it’s updates on my Twitter feed. But two years ago ago, it was a breaking news line that changed my life.
I find myself not being able to articulate things the way I’d like to. I don’t equate that to a lack of feeling, but rather, too much feeling. I’ve invested a part of myself in this tragedy for two years now; it’s a thought that floats through my mind on a more-than-frequent basis. And so I’ll continue to follow the trial as attentively as the rest of the nation: body in Durham, heart in Boston.

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