I’ve been thinking all day about what to say, feeling that there is so much to say, about the events of July 7, 2005. I walked from Borough Market to Charing Cross today, simply to soak in London and in support of #walktogether, an initiative marking the ten-year anniversary of the London bombings.
Ten years ago, I was on a bus back to London from Stansted Airport, after spending a weekend in Portugal with my then very-new boyfriend. My mother called me, with her frantic voice, asking where I was. She’d been awoken by the news from her sister on the east coast. It was a time before internet on smart phones, and all I knew sitting on that bus was there were “incidents” in London and the bus would not be going into the center.
Much of London, just like us, set off walking. Our walk was probably only four or five miles. But once we arrived at Craig’s house, we were there for a few days. Everything was on pause. London stood still.
I lived at Kings Cross. It was my tube stop. The bus that was bombed was a few streets away from school. My flatmate called to say he was fine; to see where I was. That he wasn’t planning on leaving the flat anytime soon. Once I fully understood what had happened, I had a very hard time getting back on the tubes or buses – even though getting back to my flat required both of those things.
This morning, when I started reminiscing about 2005, the details were so blurry. Where were we let off the bus? How far did we walk? When did I actually go home? What did we do in those next days? Rather, all wrapped up in these historic events, were the small bits of my life. These small bits that at the time seemed random – a new boyfriend, a trip to Portugal, writing a thesis, my flatmates, a house where my boyfriend lived, London, summertime…
There’s no doubt that this past weekend, ten years later, brought forth all of these memories. Now, with boyfriend turned husband, living back in London, reconnecting with old friends, we chose once again to travel from Stansted Airport (RyanAir’s airfares being too compelling). Our trip to another “P” country – Poland – to celebrate marriage of two of my husband’s flatmates from London, 2005.
All day long I’ve been struck by the oddness of life. Our weekend in Poland celebrated the enduring ties of life, that even after time and circumstance, still remain and in cases, are strengthened by new connections (like children, age, experiences). It’s been disconcerting that I can not remember, with more clarity, the details of July 7, 2005 or even the following months. I have brief recollections of traveling by bus to visit Craig’s flat, as the tube was closed, and having a constant fear while on the bus.
One of the previous editors of TimeOut London tweeted the cover image from July 2005. His tweet:
10 years ago on the afternoon of 7/7 @ViewfromPenge and I made this @TimeOutLondon cover #walktogether #peacetothe52@GordonJThomson