It was a normal day, the kind of day when one would not expect the unexpected to happen. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, in retrospect I should have realised that things were too perfect.
Things in Northern Ireland seemed to be getting back to normal, less riots in the streets, no more police cars zooming up and down the roads. The busses were even running on time. It was not going to be one of those days when everything goes wrong because I cannot get a bus or the roads are closed.
When I looked down the street there did not seem to be as many armed soldiers as there used to be that was definitely an improvement.I walked into the kitchen and told my husband what I had seen and how I felt that everything was going to go well today. “Well it’s only eleven in the morning, so there is plenty of time for things to go wrong! ” “That is so typical of you to say something like that! You are so negative we have had years of living in terror and having to look under the car for bombs. We have delayed having children until we move to England, but you cannot get a transfer till November next year! I have just about had enough, all I did was see a glimmer of hope, is that a crime? ” No, no you’ve got me all wrong, I just don’t want you getting your hopes up and then being disappointed. “”Well today is different. ” Even though I put on a brave front and was determined that today was going to be different somehow the words that Mark had said stuck in my head. I paced round my room trying to calm my thoughts, the tension I was creating between Mark and myself was unbearable.
I stormed down the stairs and picked up my bag off the kitchen table as I went and marched out the back door. As the door slammed shut I heard Mark shout after me. “Where are you going? ” Supermarket” I screamed back through the window at a stunned looking Mark.”Be careful” The words ‘be careful’ stung. I always had to be careful, I could not walk around the street without expecting a riot and having to leap out of the way of something flying through the air.
For one day in my life I wish I did not have to be careful. As I started to drive away down the drive I caught a glimpse of his face through the study window, I hated leaving the house on an argument but recently that had been the case rather more often that it used to be. I reached Safeway more quickly than I had intended, driving normally calms my thoughts.Every car parking space was full typical, I drove around and finally found a space.
I collected my trolley and walked through the double door; suddenly everything went black and I felt my head crash against the floor. I slowly came too; it felt like someone was trying to break into my head with a sledgehammer. I slowly got to my feet, people were running around screaming and derby was falling from the roof. All I could make out was that some kind of explosion had gone off; my head was spinning I had to get out! I looked around for where the exit was which I had walked through but all I could see was a pile of rubble.
I looked in front of me and I saw a women lying on her side with a pram next to her. I ran over to her; she was conscious but could not move she tried to speak, I leant me head close to hers. All I could here was the words ‘baby’, I remembered the pram and ran over to it there was no baby inside. I looked around frantically fearing the worst; to my horror there were a tiny bundle of blankets covered in dust so I bent down and picked it up. The tiny figure was as white as a sheet. It was dead.
I went back to the mother but she had fallen unconscious. I tried to wake her again but the loss of blood had taken its toll.I ran to the pile of rubble that once was the door. I tried screaming but nobody heard. I stumbled into the main part of the supermarket where the centre of the blast had been the pain in my head was now excruciating. The mess was unbelievable; people had fallen everywhere some were still whimpering others were already dead, I tried to motivate the people who could stand to help the people on the floor. I looked around desperately needing some way of getting out but I could not find anywhere. I started to panic.
“What are we going to do? We’re trapped, help! Help! Help! “I started to panic even more thinking that I was not going to get out alive. “Calm down! You’re going to be all right” I turned around to see a tall heavily built man sporting a bad leg wound. “You’re hurt” I stuttered. “Looks worse than it is. ” He said “There are loads of people that need medical attention very soon otherwise they will die. How can we get out of here? ” “I don’t know the entrance I came in is blocked by rubble and I have not had the chance to check the fire exits. ” “The main exit is blocked because that is where I was when the blast went off.
” “What are we going to do then? “We both looked around for a solution and helping anyone we possible could. With the little medical knowledge I knew I was not much use. Then what I had feared most happened, the remaining part of the roof that was still standing, collapsed. I was thrown to the floor once more, but again I was lucky so was everyone else nobody was in the way of the falling rubble but we had to get out fast.
I crawled over the rubble coughing and spluttering from the dust that was chocking me, I heard people behind me having the same problem. The rubble turned into a tunnel the further we crawled the harder it was; our injuries were proving a real handicap.Sharp bits of debris started to press into my side and back; finally I fell into an open space. I stood up and hoped that it was a way out but it wasn’t.
I collapsed onto a destroyed counter and sobbed all I could think of was Mark and how I had shouted at him; perhaps I’ll never see him again. As we waited to be found it started to feel strangely cold even though it had been a pleasantly warm day outside. Women started to scream and children cry, I did not realise how many people had followed me through the rubble, I felt selfish all I could do was think about my own safety and nobody else.Soon people started to quieten down and I started to here voices outside. “Everybody quiet, listen there are people outside we need to let them know that we are here.
” As soon as the words had left my mouth every person shouted at the top of their lungs. After five minutes the rescue team outside had started to knock down the outside wall to let us out, people were cheering and laughing. I could not help thinking about the people who had not made it; why was I lucky? Eventually a hole appeared in the wall and we saw light; it was a mad scramble to be the first one out.I clambered through the whole and squinted from the brightness of the light outside as I tripped on some rubble two strong arms grabbed me and held me up. I was placed in the back of an ambulance and had a layer of bandage wrapped around my head, I cannot remember much more, everything from then on is a blur. My head was thumping and the ceiling was swirling, Mark was leaning over me holding my hand. “Where am I? ” “You’re in hospital, you’re lucky to be alive! You’re incredible, people owe their lives to you! ” I spent the next couple of days in hospital to recover from my head injury.I was ready to leave and waiting for the all clear from the doctor with Mark when I was asked if I could come into the relatives room.
I stepped inside and saw many faces staring back at me, the nurse that had brought me in told me that these were the relatives of the people who had died when the remainder of the roof collapsed and that they wanted to ask some questions. I nodded, unable to speak, a small women stepped forward her hands shaking as she prepared to speak. “Did they suffer? ” Her voice was weak and shook at every word. I did not know how to reply; had they died instantly or were they left to suffer until they did?This women wanted an answer and I was expected to give it to her; why me? There were other people there! The answer I would give would be the answer that she wanted to here. “No, their death would have been quick and painless.
” An expression of pure relief came over her face and she turned and walked back to her husband. More people then came forward with questions all needing an answer to help their grieving. The people who died needed me but I could not help them, just like I could not help their relatives. I looked around the room.
There was nothing more I could so I left.