I sat at my desk the day after the Boston Marathon preparing to write about a runner who came a hundred yards short of the finish-line explosions. I wondered what monster was responsible for violating the security of the city.
What kind of person could possibly bring such misery and pain to the people I have found pride and joy living with?
On Friday morning, when my roommates dragged me out of bed to the television, I found out the name of the bomber still on the run, a name now synonymous with terror, a name that to me had been synonymous with friend.
I met Dzhokhar Tsarnaev my freshman year at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. Dzhokhar was my neighbor in Cambridge and I immediately began a friendship that would last to our senior years. Whether we were playing basketball or getting lunch, Dzhokhar never gave me a bad vibe. He even came to visit me at Northeastern University just last year.
This entire week has left me full of remorse. Remorse not just for the friend I thought I knew, but for the people he is allegedly accused of hurting, even killing. I feel remorse for 8-year-old Martin Richard. I feel remorse for Krystle Campbell. I feel remorse for Lingzi Lu. I feel remorse for MIT police officer Sean Collier. I feel remorse for their families and for every single person who has been hurt physically or mentally in the Boston Marathon bombings.
One of the few things holding me up is the effort by the police forces throughout the greater Boston area knowing they will do anything to protect my home. I have never been prouder of them.
The Dzhokhar I knew was a young man who spent all night looking in his car for a new phone I clumsily lost. He left work early just to help me retrace my steps.
He was a young man who proudly shook my hand after I told him I was hired at the Boston Globe.
He was a captain on the Cambridge Ringe and Latin wrestling team, he was in the National Honor Society, he earned a scholarship to a four-year university. It seemed no one ever had a problem with Dzhokhar.
I didn’t know his older brother, Tamerlan, who was shot and killed by police Friday, and I don’t know what kind of influence he might have had on him.
I don’t know what could have happened to Dzhokhar in the last year.
What I do know is I grieve for Cambridge, Watertown, Boston, and all of the families who call those places home, like I do.
I will always remember Dzhokhar, a friend who embraced me for a high school graduation photograph.
But it seems the young man I knew is gone.