Finding it really hard to do anything, hard to think anything, just wondering all the time what’s happening out there in the surrounding city, where the police shot someone dead this morning and the massive manhunt goes on. Wanting to run. I’ve been in London, and in other cities, with other bombers in earlier times. Indeed, once - now a far-off memory - in Lima, a Sendero bomber was caught about to bomb the building I was working in. But I’ve never felt so threatened, just wanted to flee, like I do now. I’m wondering why. On the one hand, this seems absurdly self-indulgent pondering. On the other, I can’t, right now, do anything useful about the danger, so why not?
I’m thinking: my heart, my emotions, my fear, are not so closed as they have been for much of my adult life. Why is that? Because I numbed myself for many years with work, with endless weary busy-ness, and no longer do that. Because at last, in late middle age, I think I’ve moved away somewhat from the childhood hurts that shut me down - I am more real, more present, and so I both experience stronger feelings and feel like I have more life, more loves to fear for.
And perhaps I do not rally in proud possessiveness to the ‘London United’ slogans because for ages now I’ve just wanted to get out of the place.
“We aren’t afraid, we’ll carry on regardless”, cry the headlines. It’s not quite how I feel. We’ll carry on, of course - there’s no alternative. But, rather than being unafraid, or trying to be unafraid, I feel closer to the friend who remarked that fear is part of life, always has been – this is part of how life is, something to practice with, to live and laugh in spite of, but not in denial of.
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