Thursday, March 02, 2006

I am now official

Well, I've done it. I am now an official statemented 'survivor'.

I didn't mean to be hung over for the police but I was lead astray last night (you know who you are!).

Despite behaving like a spoilt child and ranting about the incredible inefficiencies of the supposed system, I am glad that I have done it. A couple of weeks ago I was all caught up in my own little drama and geared up for messenger shooting. However the officer who came round this morning told me that I was number twenty thousand and something to give a statement. He, personally, has taken some 300 statements. They are talking to all emergency services, London Underground staff, as well as passengers and passers by who became involved. It had never occurred to me that there would be anything like this number of people to get in touch with. I slipped back into meek and mild mode, suddenly overwhelmed by the vast scale of the operation in comparison to my own little personal gripes.

The somewhat clinical manner of statement taking meant that most of the emotion was removed from the experience. It did, however, take me straight back into that dark, smoke filled carriage on 7th July, for the first time for many weeks. My shrink tells me this is good, and the more often I can take myself back there the better, so I didn’t fight it. It was hard to distinguish between what I could remember and what I now know. The enormity of my experience that day is still only slowly dawning upon me. Transporting myself back to those long drawn out minutes of terror, armed with the knowledge I now have, was a frightening, and somewhat overwhelming experience. ‘I was really there’ I thought to myself. ‘Me, Holly Finch, I was there’.

The reaction of several friends and colleagues when I told them I was finally having to give my statement was ‘Gosh, how can you remember?’. Well, it was a kind of memorable day! It will diminish in its clarity over time, but taking myself back there, just now, it felt like yesterday. I had always thought my recollection of the events of that day was pretty thorough. I wrote a long and detailed account of it a few months ago. However, this morning the police asked me some questions which I couldn’t answer. It surprised me, and probably forced me further back there as I tried to piece it all together. They seemed like harmless enough questions, but it really bothered me that I couldn’t remember.

He asked me if I was reading anything when the bomb went off. I’m not sure. I remember reading a paper, at some point, and trying to find myself amongst the celebrating crowds in the images of Trafalgar Square the previous day. But I don’t know if I was reading it at the time, I really can’t remember. Then he asked me if I knew at the time where we were, was I aware that the tube had just left Kings Cross. I have absolutely no Idea. I have even less understanding of why this troubles me so much. That journey was so routine for me, I had been doing it for 3 years, I probably did know, but I’m not aware of knowing, or even caring. As far as I can recall we were in a dark narrow tunnel and we were trapped in a carriage that was filling with smoke. Which particular part of the tunnel, I think, was irrelevant at the time. I think, but I am not sure.

I took the tube to work straight afterwards which was a strange and disturbing experience. I tried to remember, was I reading, did I know where we were. I don’t know why it matters, but I want to remember it all. I thought I had, quite clearly I haven’t.

I do feel better though. I feel official. It has finally been recognized by the state that I was there. Now all I need to do is accept it myself.