Suddenly, I was a little girl again.
One who still remembers what it was like as a visiting, naive 12-yr-old, seeking shelter in the London underground when a bomb threat shut down the Tube. It was so singularly different from any experience I’d had growing up in the USA.
Patriot Games had already come out but I hadn’t seen it yet and it was years before I understood the term, ‘The Troubles.’ Or knew they were the cause of that cowering in the underground. But I learned that day, what it meant to fear something I couldn’t see and didn’t understand.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that I now feel sadness when I see the photos and videos from Northern Ireland, taken on streets I walked down just a few years ago as an adult. It was 26 years after that visit to London that I walked the streets of Derry and then Belfast for the first time. But I walked them with the muscle memory of that 12 year old and the empathy of a now-graying adult. The murals, the black cabs, the living testimony of violence and bombs, felt more real to me because I had once cowered in fear of those very bombs.