Today’s events are almost surreal. Once we got word that in addition to the train accident a bus had also been blown up, things were in slow motion and it was a bit touch and go as to what we were suppose to do. First they told us to stay in the building as they didn’t want people rushing into the streets as they didn’t know if there would be additional explosions in the city. However, as my work building is on top of the City Thameslink rail station, not too far from where the explosions happened, management made the executive decision that we should leave. And that is what we did. We got out quick.
However, once downstairs, we were unsure of how to proceed. We couldn’t stand around as we were on top of the very reason for leaving and as attempting as it was to head for a pub to wait the situation out, many of us thought it was best to head for home since the journey would not be easy. Lucky for me, a couple of colleagues also live SW of the city, and so we headed off in that direction. The first initial minutes there was an eerie feeling. There were some people about, but not as many as we expected – and those that were out were quietly walking along. There was no hysteria.
Five minutes into the walk, we had to cross over the River Thames Blackfriars Bridge and it was at this point that I started to panic. There were police cars at the edge of the bridge checking man holes. I didn’t want to cross but it was either that or go back. So one of my colleagues linked arms with me and we pressed on in a hurried manner. Once safely over the bridge, we decided to walk towards the Waterloo rail station to see if it was open. It had started to rain and the 6 mile journey south was bound to be unpleasant. There were no cabs in sight.
Surprisingly, while the underground portion was closed, they were still running overhead (commuter) trains. So after some discussion and checking around for police presence, we hopped a rail train home. Less than 30 minutes later, the almost empty train pulled into the Wimbledon station and I felt a sense of relief to be away from Zone 1 in Central London.
Once I got through the door, I made the conscious decision not to watch television. Being alone, far away from home, I didn’t want to break out in a full fledged panic attack. As is apparent from my post below, rumors were swirling and it was unclear as to what exactly had happened. So after making the final entry in post below so everyone would know I was safe, I went to bed. It was difficult to sleep at first but slowly I drifted off for a few hours. My body while not physically tired was (and still is) emotionally exhausted.
I now sit here wondering about the future and I am trying really hard not to second guess my decision to move to London. I know todays terrorist attacks could have happened in any major city in Europe or the United States – but it is still a shock to the system to know that all this madness in happening in my new home city.