I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, a quiet settlement eight miles from Copley Square. The Marathon’s route follows Commonwealth Avenue through Newton into Boston. My house is a block from the Marathon’s 20-mile marker, in the middle of Heartbreak Hill, the most notorious of a series of four steep ascents that runners must endure as they pass through the city.
I sit and breathe and try to recall my whole life. I now sit serenely in the brush by this shouldering road. It winds tightly through the Peloponnesian town of Megalopolis, where I sit, through the pink stucco homes clinging staccato to the high side of the mountain our bus, heaving, climbed. Rapt speech in the restaurant behind is mere chatter.
At school, I no longer had to wait. I was free to do as I pleased and ceased observing the day altogether. But strangely, immediately, Shabbat presented itself to me in a transfiguring light, the radical antidote to all that displeased me here.