Saturday, March 11, 2006

Return to the murder scene.

On Thursday I finally went back to London to meet my fellow passengers, as soon as I got off the train I noticed I was getting risk-assessed all the way through Euston station. I could forgive them: rucksack, padded army jacket, young, male, nervous, sweating, getting off a train from the north and heading for the underground. That probably makes me about 85% potential suicide bomber, however I wasn’t going underground. Once outside I realised I was now nervous around parked trucks and vans, I would think: ‘why is there a bakers van parked outside a bank?’ and half expect the boom of a bomb.

After checking in I headed for Kings Cross tube, I was actually excited about going back. Excited? You do remember what happened there don’t you?! Anyway, I got to the Piccadilly westbound platform and while it didn’t really phase me, the whole place seems a lot dingier, more claustrophobic, hotter and deeper than I remember. I thought I would be worried about which carriage I got on, I wasn‘t (as long as it wasn‘t the first), I was more worried about who was on that carriage, I would keep walking till I found some straight laced business types and stick with them. A train came, I was on, before I knew it we were at Russell Square, and I carried on to Leicester Square. It felt like nothing had ever happened there, I expected to panic and be upset, but no. I had spent two weeks psyching myself up to do it, there was no more fear left and I had waited 8 months, maybe it was just the right time to do it. Also, statistically the chances of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time twice and the chance of it happening again in the same spot are tiny, I feel almost invincible. Other survivors and I, are the least likely people in Britain to be in the same thing again, if we are then we know how to react. Like I said... invincible.

So, I found myself walking from Westminster (where I saw a woman getting arrested for making a silent protest with a banner, that’s democracy for you!) along the north bank. Upon stumbling on Cleopatra’s needle I found it’s story actually quite relevant, If you already know it sorry but I will remind you. While being transported by sea from Egypt in a custom built iron tube (ironic huh?), it hit rough seas, a crew was sent from the towboat to the needle to get the crew but they sank and died. The tether was cut and the needle was lost in the Bay Of Biscay, they thought it was lost forever only to find it five days later floating and unharmed. It eventually got to London and was erected on the bank. Then the plinths were damaged by the first ever German bombing raid by aeroplanes, the scars remain un-repaired on the plinth and sphinx. So, its journey was interrupted and resulted in fatalities, however it finally completed its journey and stands tall and proud, the bomb scars only add to its long history, hope you see the relevance. Enough of the history lesson.

I then made a return journey on the tube from St Paul’s to Kings Cross, but someone got on next to me with a rucksack, I just waited for it to explode, I could almost feel it going off and ripping me in two, but I still didn’t panic, I was getting off at the next stop anyway. I’ve realised I don’t’ have a specific problem with any section of the tube, just generally a bit nervous and aware of any dangers. Obviously to be expected.

That evening I met my fellow survivors for the first time, (or shoud that be second?) I would hope that a cross section of any train on any morning would throw up such a nice bunch of people. It was so refreshing to talk about IT without having to set the scene, I found it very helpful to talk about what happened and how we are all dealing with it in a slightly different way. One difference I noticed was how we refer to it, I refer to it as just ‘London’, for example: ‘I’m in counselling for London’. To me ‘London’ and ‘bomb’ are one and the same thing, I hope I don’t always associate it like that as I really do love the place. I would also like to add we didn’t sit there talking about bombs all night, very soon it was just a bunch of people chatting about anything. I left feeling very patriotic and proud of us all. I guess it’s similar to blitz spirit in WWII. They nearly murder us, so… we go for a beer and have a laugh! I’d say they've failed miserably!


Blogger Bumble Bee said...

Nice post Steve.
Glad that the return journey went well for you. Was so happy to finally meet you and hope to see you again soon.
Take care

4:41 AM  
Blogger Holly Finch said...

great post steve....lovely to meet you...i am so proud of or wonderful little 'family'...and it was so inspiring to meet so many new glad you made your trip...big step forward...keep on keeping on

6:41 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Well done you got back on, brilliant...

Lovely to meet you Steve, and thanks for your support of Dad, abd for writing to Clarke, I hope he replies to you - and quickly!


4:57 AM  

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