Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016.
It’s 9:30 am. I’ve been at work for two hours already. Today was supposed to be a quiet day with Easter and two weeks of school holidays around the corner and a very long weekend off for me to look forwards to.
Today is everything but a quiet day…
We are locked in inside the building, forbidden to go out until further notice. And with reasons.
One hours and thirty two minutes ago, two bombs exploded in our national airport, killing dozens, wounding even more. My heart broke when I saw the news on the Internet. But I wasn’t worried. Not yet…
Nineteen minutes ago, another bomb exploded in a metro pulling out of the station it has just made its stop into. A metro station that lies 800 meters away from where I work, from where I sit right now. A metro station I walk by every afternoon on my way to the train station and home.
I didn’t know a heart could break twice in such a short amount of time. I honestly wish I never did.
I’m sad, heartbroken, worried, afraid. And completely numb.
News flashes keep coming, wild rumors, pictures, casualty reports, conspiracy theories. The big, scary word “terrorism” has been dropped a while ago.
My country has just joined the ever-growing club of nations hit by the twenty-first century’s plague. Another name on the list, just another casualty.
I’m having a hard time accepting it. It has happened 800 meters away from me but I am too numb to realize it. I should be in shock, maybe I am in shock…
I’m awfully calm. I don’t recognize myself. Hell, I even manage to joke about it with one of the guys in the office next door. What the fuck is wrong with me?
Then something worms its way into my numb brain. I need to let my loved ones know I’m okay. Am I okay? I’m alive and unharmed, I guess I’m okay…
I feel terribly selfish.
Phone calls don’t go through but texts do, I send one to my parents, wishing I could speak to them, I will later find out they only received half of it. I take to social media to reassure all the other ones. Thanks the stars the Internet isn’t down. Thank the stars for the Internet!
Time passes quickly or really slow, it can’t seem to make up its mind. I type my feelings away on social media, I need to let stuff out, I don’t care if it’s not coherent, if I sound irrational or selfish, I need to let it all out.
I want to go out there, help in any way I can even if I don’t have the slightest idea how to do that.
But we are locked in, forbidden to go out and all I can do is retweet the Red Cross appeals for blood donations. I feel useless, I feel like I’m a total waste of breathing space. It has happened right next door and there’s nothing I can do. What fucking good am I?
My mind keeps going back and forth to two ideas; I’m going to die today! and How the fuck will I go home tonight? Nothing in between and despite that, I’m still annoyingly calm. I always thought I would panic, freak out. It’s certainly the impression my social media posts give to those who read them, and there are a lot of them, reaching out, offering support, thoughts, prayers. But why the fuck am I still so calm?
It’s almost 1:00 pm, one of the guys I work with knocks on my office door. “Have you eaten something already?” I haven’t, I’m not hungry. “Do you have anything to eat with you? I know you usually go out to grab lunch.” I don’t. I don’t really care. I’m not hungry. “I’m making you a sandwich!” I eat it. Still not hungry, still horribly calm, still typing away my fears on my keyboard.
It’s 4:30 pm. I should have left work thirty minutes ago but I’m still there. Public transportation has been stopped for obvious security reasons. No cars can enter the city. Will I have to sleep in my office? We can go out of the building now but to go where? I’m starting to get twitchy, anxious, nervous. The fact I can’t go home triggers me more than the hundreds of wounded, the dozens of dead. What the fuck is wrong with me???
It’s 9:30 pm and I made it home. A co-worker has drove me to the train station nearest to his home, 40 kilometers away from where I live. My dad picked me up there and drove me home. I haven’t eaten anything. I’ve spoken a couple of times to my mom on the phone. I’m not calm anymore. I’m lying on my bed crying ugly tears of anxiety, grief, guilt.
All these people died and the useless little thing I am is still alive. Why? Why did I get to live and they didn’t. Why was I unable to do anything to help them? Why the fuck did I remain so calm? What the fucking fuck is wrong with me???
I hate myself, I despise myself, I loathe myself, and only myself.
Sleep doesn’t come easy but it comes eventually, so do the nightmares.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
It’s 7:30 am and I’m back to work. It hasn’t even been twenty four hours yet and they made us go back to work. I’m angry, furious.
No one I know among yesterday’s casualties but I’m struggling to keep an anxiety crisis at bay. I’m in pain, I’m heartbroken, I’m exhausted and I have to stay all day in an almost empty building, in an office with very little to do. I wish I was home but part of me still think it’s a good thing I’m here. It proves I could do it. No matter how scared and angry I am, I could go back less than a day after it all. Maybe I’m not such a failure after all…
I’m feeling a lot of contradicting things, my mind keeps racing.
The nameless dead and wounded keep haunting me.
I feel grateful yet so guilty.
I’m trying to understand but I can’t.
Just like I can’t hate…
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
It’s 6:30 am. My long weekend off has just started and I’ve just woken up to the sound of birds singing in the backyard. It’s a beautiful thing, birds singing. I take the time to listen to them. So many things we take for granted.
I’ll be home with no obligations for five days. I’ll be home with just my overwhelming thoughts.
I decide to keep my social media interactions to a minimum, I forbid myself to read the papers or listen to the news.
I need to give myself some space to deal with everything that is going on in that little fucked up head of mine if I want to ever start healing.
Can I even heal?
I’m still in pain, I’m still heartbroken and exhausted. I’m not that angry anymore and I still don’t hate. Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
I listen to the birds singing outside. Those birds I’ve taken for granted for so long. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same…
And I want to believe I can heal.