Friday, July 22, 2005

Sickness and fear

I posted at 8.45am, then the TV and internet crashed. Recap of what I said.

John got home at 7.45am after working all night to finish a deal for his firm. He has to do this more often than I would like.Yesterday the fact that he had to do it was particularly hard: I didn't get to sleep til after 2am, I woke in a panic at 6.45am to find he was not there.

The inept bombers do not seem blackly funny but frightening today. I recognise yesterday's euphoria as a re-run of the initial survivor reaction. Numbness-euphoria-sadness-anger-anxiety-numbness; the same reactions I had on Thursday 7/7 move through through me again and again and again, like the ripples from a rock heaved into a still pond. Repeat to fade.

Looking at myself in the mirror I looked older, with dark rings under my eyes and a pale puffy face. I was able to get a couple of hours sleep by John's side.

Woke up to find no TV, and still no internet. The radio runs off the TV as well, we were without news. The jumpy mind leaps to the wildest conclusions: terrorists! power surges!...then the communication was mysteriously restored at 12.30pm.

Police have shot dead a suspected suicide bomber on the Northern line. This morning, not yesterday. Shot 5 times by plain clothes police with a hand gun, having bundled him onto the ground. On the tube. The Victoria and Northern lines have been suspended. That means they were trying again. This time the police killed, not the bombers.

It strikes me as unbelievably brave and also absolutely terrifying, that the police would sit on a man they believed was a bomb - so he couldn't detonate it - and then kill him in cold blood at point blank range.

But I am also afraid: this is new territory. Police storming a tube carriage shooting a man in front of the passengers, that happens in American movies not real life.

I feel the lurching sensation of fear in my stomach, under my ribs, like being in a lift that drops too fast. Fear is literally sickening.

John and I were making dark predictions when he came in this morning and we watched the news, bug-eyed.

8/8/05 for the next big attack. Jubilee, Northern, Central, Bakerloo still to be bombed. Stratford, Euston were my predictions. It is sick. It is sickening. It is frightening to think what this sick sense of foreboding and suspicion and barely-suppressed fear will do to our busy, tolerant city.

Well, if they were attempting to strike the next day then all bets are off and we're looking at a landscape subtly changed by fear. A toxic, invisible gas.

John has got to go back to work. I don't want him to. I can't stop him.
This has not turned into much of a day off.

My parents are on their way from Norfolk; I asked them to drive here. I want to see them but I want them to be safe.

I'm trying not to start crying; tears are no damn use at all at a time like this.


Anonymous seth from new york said...

i have been reading all your postings since your first "diary" which i read on the bbc website.

you are one brave,gutsy someone who lives/works in ny and was there on 9/11...i can relate...

keep up the postings...and.remember.."we are all LONDONERS now"

July 23, 2005 12:55 am  

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