When terrorists bombed Madrid last year, I felt very close to my friends and folks back home in London. A lot of them called, texted, emailed to see if I was OK. Today, in diametrically opposite circumstances, I felt far away. I didn't hear from my sister until after lunchtime and my imagination had already begun to swoop and dive. I flickered between two websites and the radio news for most of the morning, trying to pick up information.
Later, I found myself wishing I had been there. That my friends had been through this weird day and I hadn't. It was a weird and selfish reaction but not one I'm ashamed of. Then, having spoken to and emailed a couple of them, I got the feeling that maybe it was more weird for me than for them. Maybe you take it in your stride when something shocking happens in your city - unless you are directly involved. I remember that about the Madrid bombings too - it really didn't affect me much on the day, other than to make me worry that I might be laid off. That was a selfish reaction that I am ashamed of.