United in Shock, United in Grief
    Antony Davies
Lunchtime, Tuesday, away to Starbucks. The street is swarming. The day is hot. A Mocha, whipped cream, sunning myself and reading the paper. A train strike features Ė my trains Ė and is due in a fortnight. My God, how dare they?

A clatter. I look up. Five more people gust past, silent. Then shops begin to empty all around me Ė assistants, customers. More people stream towards the TV shop three doors down. The words rising from the crowd are nonsense. An accident, a disaster, a hoax. Somebodyís having a laugh. Some donít know; they follow the other crowds anyway.

I join them. I melt into the half-halo of silent bodies, vying for an explanation in the huge flickering windows of the television store. I wish the TVs were black and still, but I cannot look away. Clouds of grey fill the screens. The gathering cannot speak. No words can form. A hush descends as more commuters spot the huddle and amble over.

Only one thought: Why? And then a fear: Could it happen here? So far across the sea, but we feel our American friendsí deaths as if they were our own. Could it happen here? And then guilt. Lives lost, a nation maimed and now scarred forever.

A roar from overhead cuts the silence. The packed street of shoppers is still. Quiet. Every pair of eyes look up and watch the plane pass overhead. Only when the image is hidden beyond the buildings and the sound has gone do we return to the tragedy billowing from the televisions. A sob breaks, then a second. Not mine. I canít cry until I know itís real. How can it be? I ask for Godís help for others, for His kindness. I realise in this moment, that for the first time in twenty years, I am talking to God. TALKING to God. Not blaspheming or decrying minor ailments or inconveniences.

I am praying, as is this Kingdom. United with our cousins.


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