Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Drinking to the dead

Yesterday I had my stitches taken out. I am a good healer; they had got a bit stuck in the healing wound so I looked away whilst they were extracted


And then I got the tube to work. The tube was empty-ish, it was almost lunchtime. Once again I got into the first carriage. It was my first time getting the tube on my own. I noticed that I was checking the place out like an SAS officer: who is on the tube? Description? Demeanour? Where's the exit? I sat by the door ( for easy exit) then moved one place ( because close to the glass partition: might get cut by flying glass)

I got off at Warren St; couldn't face changing tube lines, so I walked the last 15 minutes above ground. I must have looked a sight as I strode down through the West End, lips pressed together, looking like a Valkyrie on a mission to punch dozy wandering tourists out of the way.

Threw myself into work, but concentration still erratic; still, I tried. People came over and said they were glad to see me, then that they hoped I was ok, then that they were embarrassed because 'you must be fed up with people saying that'. It was so lovely. I've only worked there since mid May. I wanted to hug them.

I said, absolutely truthfully, that it was wonderful to have so many people wishing me well, and it had made a real difference.

Then I met my friend Dave for a pint ( he is something of an expert
on pints). Dave's friend Liz was the 39th victim to be identified; she was on my carriage.She worked as a manager in the neuroradiology department of University College Hospital. Liz's boyfriend Rob lived with her in Highgate, north London. Both of them were friends of Dave and contributed to Freaky, an excellent website, and also were contributors to ilx, another well-loved internet site.

We got drunk, and talked about a lot of things. Particularly the need to decide which side you were on: love or hate. Civilisation or barbarism. Nihilism or hope. Things have changed.

Liz, and Rob, I drink to you: you were full of love. I'm so sorry.

And tonight, I went to Kings Cross, and I went to the memorial garden, full of dying flowers, and messages, of outrage, and hope, and collective grief and determination. There were messages there from all over the world: all of the world is in London.

I put some blue cornflowers there, and a card, and I signed the book of condolence

To my fellow passengers. I got off the train. I am sorry that I had to leave you there. When we all got on the train we did not know that for some of us it would be our last journey, and that some of us would not come home.

We did not finish our journey together, but I carry you in my heart, and so do millions of other people.

To all that loved you, knew you, worked with you, miss you, my thoughts are with you. .

At the end of the journey, we are all fellow passengers,
and we can all hold hands in the dark,


Rachel, (a fellow passenger, on the 08.51 Kings Cross train)

Then I sat in a bar with John. And I drank again to the dead and injured. And tears dripped off my nose.

And we got a cab home.


Blogger longwayfromhome said...


July 19, 2005 11:54 pm  
Anonymous sooz said...

So very moving x

April 26, 2007 1:08 pm  

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