Hanna Romano is decked from head to toe in Boston-themed garb.
The charms of the 20-year-old Florida Gulf Coast University junior’s Boston Red Sox bracelet chime as she reaches for her red thermos, covered in New England slang.
Romano embodies her city, where just hours prior, two bombs went off, killing three and hospitalizing over 150 victims.
“I tried to find everything I had that represented Boston today,” Romano said.
Romano’s mother, Kerin Romano, a nurse at Tufts New England Medical Center, informed her of the attack in one, brief text message.
“I was on the way home from the store and my mom [sent me a text that] said, ‘Explosions at finish line of marathon,’” Romano said.
Confused, Romano probed her mother further with questions but after assuring her daughter she was safe, Kerin Romano said goodbye and stopped texting her daughter. She was about to get very busy.
“She was fine,” Romano said. “She was at work and she was like, ‘I have to go,’ and I didn’t hear from her for a couple hours. My dad texted me and said she’s going to have to stay, they’re in a state of emergency at [Tufts] hospital, which meant they weren’t letting anyone in or out. They’re in lock-down mode. I heard from her again around 8 p.m.”
It wasn’t until later that night that Romano’s mother told her the most horrifying news of all.
“She also told me there was a suspicious package at the first floor of their ER,” Romano said. “So the bomb squad was at the hospital and I didn’t know that until later that night. It’s just a horrible feeling. You watch this on the news but you don’t really [understand] until you’re there.”
Nine victims of the bombings were brought to Romano’s mother’s hospital on Monday. While the terror of knowing this atrocity happened in her city was tough to bear, Romano narrowly missed being a victim herself.
“The first thing I thought of was ‘we used go there every year and watch the race,’” Romano said. This was the first year Romano and her family did not attend the Boston Marathon.
As Romano rests easy knowing her mother is safe, many of her family friends and acquaintances were not as lucky.
“One of my mom’s interns has a friend that has severe burns. And that girl’s brother and boyfriend lost both of their legs in the explosion,” She said. “It’s hard to see people I know are actually affected.”
After fearing her family was so close to the explosions, Romano was grateful her mother would be going back into work Tuesday night. With the protection of bomb squads and police forces in and around the hospital and Boston area, she said her mother is now in one of the safest places possible.
Romano’s only desire right now is to go back to her city.
“At this time I wish I was home just to be with my family but then again it’s not the safest place right now,” Romano said.
As she adjusts her Boston Red Sox cap, Romano takes solace in the knowledge that she will soon be face-to-face with her mother, as Kerin Romano flies to Southwest Florida on Wednesday to be with her daughter. A simple act that now seems so precious.