Today is the 2nd Friday since I have been back.
Its a mundane day, nothing special.
Well, its some sort of festival in Gracia, and we had plans to see two friends for dinner and to enjoy the festivities together.
Today marks 11 days out of England.
Which seems to somehow be an extraordinarily small and large amount of time to be confined to a simple number of days.
Yesterday there was a terrorist attack in Barcelona, I’m sure most people are aware of this by now. I am.
My friends and family who contacted me, or got a text out of context saying that if they had seen the news then me and Darling are okay, don’t worry, are too. As is everyone else thanks to the Facebook check in app (which I think is a fantasic and incredible thing to exist. Utterly vital).
I didn’t really react when I got a text from D. asking me to check the news for any information, only finding one update that I could make sense of at that time (5:25pm).
Part of it just felt unrealistic, and also, terribly, so normalised that I couldn’t really react.
It’s a part of normal life now it seems, for less than a week to involve 3 or more violent attacks, acts of terrorism (civil, international, domestic) filling up our newsfeeds, taking over our televisions, splashed on the newspapers.
The endless stream of terrible events dulling us to the violence and horror of it all.
Numbing us to what appears to be our new normal.
Only by the time that D. told me that there were police at her work, and they were telling people to not get onto trains, (her work is only one stop away from Catalunya, La Rambla) the aftermath still ongoing, the suspects still on the loose, did I feel the panic.
The helplessness, the fear.
I wanted to somehow drag her away from there and back to me with pure will.
I got a text from an English friend, checking on me.
I sent out WhatsApps to the people I know here, people who I wasn’t sure where they were in the city, and thankfully the replies confirmed everyone I know is okay.
Everyone I know is okay.
Which is saddening, the relief that the people we know are okay, when these unnamed others are not.
Then I waited with the air in my lungs hard to push and pull, in, and out again, as the minutes ticked over, waiting for her to get the station. Changing to go and meet her with my brain outside of my body, pulling on clothes that would make me sweat unbearably under the late afternoon sun.
I sent a text out once I saw her.
A text to confirm to that she was okay, that I only believed once I saw her.
The calm rushing in once she was in my arms again.
And what has followed is a numbness, a disconnect from a city and a country that is not my own, where these terrors are so much closer than I have ever experienced before. The awareness that if something did happen to D. then I would be stuck, in a flat that I have no right to live in without her, with paperwork to be a legal immigrant half finished, my ability to speak the mother tongue limited, my medical insurance not yet completed..
Among the rumours of the act having anti-semitic feeling.
Not as an acting jew, but someone who has jewish blood inside her body, someone who is half Jewish, queer and English, an ‘other’ in this country..
It creates a feeling of not knowing quite what to do, knowing that there are people who are planning to hurt anyone they deem as ‘other’, and feeling aware of the lack of comfort this country that is not my home offers me.
And a sadness for those who died, who were injured, who were in a place for people wanting to explore somewhere special, a beautiful multicultural city, visiting on business, seeing family, travelling to be with a long distance lover.. Honeymooners, workers on break, familys out for the day, and all of them walking to do the mundane things that we all do in our daily lives; eat, shop, see our friends, enjoy a moment to ourselves, live.
A terrible thing has happened.
So many terrible things have happened, so many people injured and dead, that eloquence is not necessary.
To be earnest in our depth of compassion and heartbreak is.
To continue to offer help to those in need, and mourn and respect those we have lost.
In truth I feel like I am stumbling over my words, but I just want to send out love to all who need it, and hope that these things will change.
That this will never be our true normal.