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« The politics of denial | Main | A Muslim culture of victimhood? »

From a concerned bystander

Aaron Rosenthal

We had to wait at the ticket barriers at London Bridge for a couple of minutes; we were told there had been a power surge. It’s not uncommon to wait to get down onto the tube at London Bridge, and we all rushed down to get a tube to work once they opened up. It was as busy as usual and a bit of a squeeze. I spotted an attractive girl on the train and was trying to make eye contact with her.

We were told the train was bypassing Bank because of the power surge. Then Moorgate. A few people grumbled; I was alright as I had to go all the way to Kentish Town. I was getting quite uncomfortable standing in the heat with little room to stand, but I swear the girl looked at me and smiled so it wasn’t too bad.

Then the driver announced we were not stopping until we got to Euston. I was confused now but not too concerned. We stopped in the tunnel just before Kings Cross. After a while, I became concerned; I daydreamed about what would happen if there was a bomb. I didn’t seriously think that would be though. We were told they were evacuating passengers ahead; why has a power surge caused all this? Eventually, after around half an hour waiting, the train edged into Kings Cross and we walked up the train and out of the driver’s door. I looked to see how far behind me the girl was. I still didn’t realise what had happened. As we walked up through the station, I soon forgot about the girl.

People were covered in blood and soot. One man was bleeding heavily. The thing that affected me the most was the crying. So many people were openly crying; I realised afterwards you rarely see anyone cry in public. I was a bit confused and phoned work to say I was going to be late. I was worried about my brother as I knew he took a similar route to me; he was fine but told me there had been more bombs. I couldn’t get my head around it; I walked around aimlessly for a while and looked for a bus. Only 100 yards away I heard people complaining that they had to get off the train; they had no idea what had happened. I gave up on the bus because they were barely moving and were so busy; shortly afterwards the number 30 bus exploded.

I tried to find my way through Euston and closed streets to work. I tried to phone and text people I knew worked in London; it stopped working quite quickly. I got the papers for work from the newsagent; the news of the Olympic bid was already redundant at 11 in the morning. I explained what had happened to a confused young woman. By this point the horror had sunk in and it was quite awkward parting ways. I walked into work in a funk; colleagues were concerned and told me to eat but I just wanted information. What the hell had happened? I emailed everyone I could saying I was ok and asking them to tell me; I had 8 messages already asking where I was. A couple of friends took a while to check in and our close circle became concerned, but no one I knew personally was hurt.

I eventually walked down through the centre of London to Charing Cross to get a train home and met a friend. He had been very concerned, and I gradually received frenzied texts he had sent in the morning asking where I was; swear words were injected more and more as time went on. I got home, went to the pub and saw friends. I had been weird all day and I wanted to have a beer and look forward. I went to bed drunk enough and late enough to sleep so I didn’t think about it.

Now we have to get on with our lives. This weekend I moved into my new flat in London as planned. I am proud to live here and we will not bow to terrorism. We must remember those who died; I personally never forget the pain I saw or the young Asian girl I saw who suddenly burst into tears at the bus stop, I assume as the impact sunk in. But we must travel to work without fear; I want to travel on the tube and make eye contact with attractive girls; we must live as we did before; terrorists cannot make our decisions.

Thanks for reading the thoughts of a concerned bystander.

July 12, 2005 in The London Bombings | Permalink

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