Sunday, July 10, 2005

I'm alive because others took the force of the bomb.

SUNDAY 10 JULY 1542 BST
I poured myself an enormous whisky after the police had gone on Saturday evening, taking the sealed forensic bags with my sooty stinking suit and blouse that I was wearing on Thursday morning.
I hugged John, my partner, and we stood in the garden, listening to the bees in the lavender bushes. My mouth felt numb.
We looked at each other and we talked of those who were missing and the people who had been standing behind me who took the full force of the blow.
I thought again of the terrible screams I had heard.
The black man covered in blood who was being half carried, half dragged by the white man walking behind me on the tracks to Russell Square.
He had groaned all the way whilst we were walking in silent single file to the Tube.
I thought of how the people behind me had died.
It was a lot to take in.
I had a dizzying sense of vertigo, as if I had stepped back from a sheer cliff and the ground had rushed up to meet me.
I went back into the flat and found the BBC News website and looked at the diagram of my carriage and the train and the bomb. I kept staring at it.
Then I looked at the diagram in the Times of the carriage and the bomb and the little escaping people.
I still couldn't see why I was alive and had escaped with a cut wrist and scratches.
I decided to go out of the house.
I put on lipstick.
It was a beautiful night, warm and soft, and I could smell cooking and the scent of flowers.
The streets seemed quieter than normal, the usual crowds of young men who hang around outside the cafes of Finsbury Park were not there.
John and I held hands tightly.
I met my best friend, Jane, who lives close by, in a nearby bar and suddenly a wave of joy hit me again, and none of us could stop talking, and smiling at each other.
We left the bar and picked up some wine from the off licence and I found myself beaming at the Turkish shopkeeper as if he was a favourite uncle
He looked bemused but smiled back.
We sat in Jane's garden downing glass after glass of cold wine and eating mango salad that her next door neighbour brought over, all of us babbling with happiness - and getting completely drunk.
I walked home, still holding John's hand and I fell into bed at 0300, saying to myself again and again "I'm alive. I'm really alive. I'm still here", and I hugged myself.
Woke up this morning still in a disbelieving state, mildly hungover, with sun pouring through the curtains.
I've been sitting in the garden again still ploughing my way through the newspapers, still reading and re-reading other witness accounts.
I was reading about horror and death and maiming in the sunshine, with the cat snoring next to me.
I felt sick as I read, then that floating with happiness dislocated feeling.
I keep wondering at myself, why am I still reading the news all the time, when I know what happened?
I am a bit disgusted with my own reactions.
I suppose I am still shocked and my reactions still aren't normal.
I have only cried once. I don't think I can bear to cry properly yet. I suppose it will happen in time.

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