My first reaction surprised me: a surge of utterly tribal fury. I’m not a Bostonian; I’m not even an American. But I’ve been in this city for fifteen years and how dare they? On TV the images began to loop: the smoke punching out of the ground, demonically; the row of shocked flags; collective fragmentation and disorientation replaced in seconds by a remarkably concerted movement towards the epicentre; ­ cops, soldiers, stewards, runners, rushing to help, almost helpless themselves with the urgency of it. Outside my window the day had been reversed. No more packs of people heading brightly and noisily downtown. Now miles-wide ripples of dismay were moving outward, electronically, into the neighborhoods.

Copley’s closed. The Green Line, the morning after. Here we sit, rumbling along, the usual wordless carload of strangers, but finding ourselves today ­ I know I’m not imagining it ­ in a different relation to each other.

Tenderness on the T? This train will not be stopping at Copley. My eyes fill. No fuss, no gush, no “due to the tragic events of yesterday” or “as part of the ongoing investigation” ­ just that gorgeous flat, mechanized accent, telling us what’s what. That’s how you do it, Boston.