This time it is my turn to torture the trusty LBC members with a topic, and I have chosen
“Silence is golden”, or so goes the line of a song, but this silence was deafening!
I was sitting beside the Black Man, where Fisherwick Place intersects with Wellington Place in Belfast. To my left was ‘Inst’ or to give it the correct name – the Academical Institution with The City Hall along the street in the other direction.
The ink was hardly dry on my wedding certificate and I not a full week in my newly adopted home. A late July day and the sunshine was warm through the windscreen of the car. I was alone. It was against the law to leave cars unattended on the streets of Belfast, or indeed of any town in Northern Ireland, back then. Jack had nipped off to take care of a small errand and I was content to sit and soak up the sounds and sights of Belfast City.
The great silence followed an earth shaking explosion! Not knowing the lie of the land, I did not know the direction of the noise. Jack was out there somewhere. The last sight I had of him was heading round a corner…..
Suddenly all signs of traffic evaporated and pedestrians disappeared, I was alone in my new world.
The words ‘A bomb has exploded…’ were not new to my ears, they were the leading headline of the news on most days of the week. I had just heard the actual sound as it happened, for the first time in my life!
Time stood still.
It may have been minutes, but it felt like hours before I saw the lone figure running towards me. His steady pace was interrupted by the sound of a second explosion, this time from further away. I recognised the running figure and his uneven step, it was Jack.
Practically falling into the car he gasped for breath. While I was concerned for him, he was frantically worrying about me sitting, waiting and not knowing. Once he got his breath back, he told me the direction of the bomb and that from the sound of the second bang, it was a controlled explosion by the army.
Happy to be safe and together, we drove home. In silence.