I took a bus home – and it was quicker than usual; got on and immediately regretted it, but stayed on, with everyone else who filled up all the seats. But I caught myself watching all who got on, all who looked different, just wondering if thwere were more bombs out there. The fact that I was worried about getting on buses, and suspicious of people today makes me angry.
The British are ‘used’ to this, in a way that we really should not be. I was not in London when the IRA were regularly bombing, but the situation then changed activities across the whole country. I grew up in a normality that affected me at a sub-conscious level. Even now, years since the last bomb, I go to train stations in other countries and know something is wrong – then the brain kicks in and I remember that stations are supposed to have left-luggage lockers and metal bins.
At work, there appeared to be panic, just anger and resignation. Everyone I know is safe – but that was luck I think. One person at work was in Russell Square/Tavistock Rd when that bomb went off…she spoke about her morning:
– A loud bang; not like in the movies but a bang that got louder and louder. Instinctively thinking it’s a bomb.
– Spinning round to see a car in the air, landing heavily. Then silence.
– Screams. Shouts. A white house stained with black and red.
– A step towards the noise; debris starts falling, batting it away. Then someone yells – ‘Run’. And people do, flight instinct kicking in – get away.
– Running to work. The surreal sight of people going about normal business, standing outside offices smoking. Starting their day with no idea what happened.
Now, I’m watching the news, with 37 confirmed dead, over 700 injured. Knowing there’s likely to be more fatalities as there are seriously injured people in hospital. Wondering how the hell only 2 people are confirmed dead in that bus, that looked like it had been peeled open. Thinking about all those people whose lives have utterly changed today.
Yesterday we celebrated; today, London mourns.