On Boylston Street, at that very place, the daffodils at Old South Church have finally pushed through the mud in a burst of yellow. A few steps beyond, the city rushes by: professionals in tailored suits, customers testing shoes from the nearby Marathon Sports store, a man in a Boston Marathon windbreaker, because it is that time of year.
Workers have scrubbed the orange crime scene paint from the brick and concrete, leaving the sidewalk astonishingly unblemished. But subtle reminders remain: a single pair of running shoes hanging in a tree, a knitted chain of hearts in Boston Marathon yellow and blue.
The world’s most prestigious road race will be run again next week, as it has since 1897. A year after two explosions, four homicides, a manhunt, a gunfight, and a citywide comeback that is still unfolding, much about the city looks and feels as it long has, but nothing is really quite the same. One race spectator cannot stop shaking. An affable nurse who tied a tourniquet now avoids crowds. Bullet holes in a Watertown house are still stuffed with toilet paper.
For those in the line of fire, and those who rushed to help them, the legacy of the year — the pain slowly fading, the strength slowly returning — is plain to view, part of the fabric of the history the city knows too well. But beyond that first circle of tragedy, lies a larger and deeper ring of people and places, marked in ways less obvious but no less real.
Cesar Vazquez, for one, is back with the crew setting up the finish line scaffolding. It is an annual, repetitive task, but one that has to be done right. It feels different now. A year ago, they wore protective white outfits when they removed the scaffolding to avoid contaminating a crime scene.
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