There’s a shared collective consciousness in the air. No one dares to say a word or walk faster than a timid shuffle. The air is thick and moist, almost like we are moving in a thin and weighty sea.
I move around this shopping center, it’s laden with collapsed shops signs and rubbish. A women with long black hair half tied up in a bun is sitting in a coffee shop facing what looks like her partner, she is raising the fork to her mouth slowly, likes she’s stuck at half speed, like everybody else, maybe it’s because we are too scared that if we move at regular pace, they’d sense we were here.
A waitress creeps past, off to drop the order to the kitchen. I am so confused as to why people are still working at a time like this, maybe they are in denial and want to live their life how they would do if they knew this was not going to happen. Maybe they just don’t believe it will happen.
My parents never react badly to social catastrophes like you could call this one, I remember when the July bombings happened my school erupted into a fit of panic and distress, I mirrored this and burst into tears. Parents came home from work to pick up their children, teachers walked around like ghosts and lost their status, and everyone’s phones were ringing. I lived with my parents two minutes walk away from school, and they hadn’t called me, this meant something terrible had happened I concluded, my parents must not be calling me because either my sister or brother who worked in central London had be hurt or worse. I imagined my mother hurling in agony on the floor while my dad stared through the wall.
I shivered and spluttered into am acquaintances blazer in the science lab trying to build up the courage to call home. I did call home, and my father answered with chirpy greetings. Everything was fine, both my sister and brother were safe at work and mum had just put the kettle on. It was at this point when I realized how much of a fuss was made, parents panicked that the bombings would countries all the way to the suburban boarders of London, or maybe it was that my parents were the calmest people in London that day.
But when we heard this news, the wave of dead soaked everyone, including my parents. People speak only when they need to, laughing has become extinct and touching is also something that is far too dramatic.
I stare at this couple in the café for what seems like minutes, is it that they do not believe our fate, or perhaps they are able to delete the future anxieties and live in the moment where they are eating cheese cake and looking at each other blankly.
Some people decided to hide out in boarded in houses and hold a supply of food and water, some people decided to make residences in their vehicles, and some decided to migrate somewhere they thought they’d be harder to find.