I’ve not written on here for some time now. To be honest, I’ve had no idea what to say. I’ve felt quite numb since the attack at Manchester Arena on 22nd May. That night will always be one of the worst and most tragic nights out city has ever encountered. This post may be too upsetting for some to read. I’m not cutting any of the details.
How the night went for me…..
I was sitting at home with Gus, watching a little TV and looking at some wedding venues. Paul was at the arena (working) and Jess was there with her friend watching the show. I got a phone call from Paul which I answered with my usual ‘hiii!’ He shouted ‘a bomb has gone off at the arena. You need to call Lucy and we need to get in touch with Jess, she’s not answering her phone.’ I was in disbelief and said ‘what are you talking about?’ He replied ‘a bomb has gone off, there are bodies everywhere!’
That was all he could tell me. He didn’t know anything else, he just needed to find his daughter and her friend to know they are safe. Calling Lucy to tell her that a bomb had gone off and Paul couldn’t find Jess was an extremely difficult phone call to make. I rang her friends mum and had to tell her the same thing. I tried calling both of the girls phones but they were both switched off. I called Paul back to tell him I’ve had no luck contacting either Jess or her friend. Just as I said that, they both ran in front of him. He grabbed them both and hugged them. I was left listening to what I could hear from his pocket where he’d put the phone while he grabbed them both. I hung up and called back. He answered with such relief in his voice. Neither of the girls knew what had happened. They just followed the crowds rushing from the building. Jess had taken her shoes off so she could run faster. Luckily, she’s been to the arena many times and knew where she was getting picked up from. Her step dad was there with the car and got both girls home safely.
I spoke to Paul who said he was going back in despite me pleading with him not to. After that, I didn’t eat from him for over 2 hours. I had to call everyone and let them know him and Jess were safe.
I was crying hysterically. I couldn’t process it properly. I began working there in 2007 and met Paul there. Friends I’ve known for almost 10 years were all involved in this terrible ordeal and I didn’t know if any of them were injured or worse. I had people messaging me and calling me to find out what was going on. It was overwhelming. I cried and cried not knowing anything but what they kept replaying on Sky News.
When Paul finally picked up his phone again, I was so relieved. He said he’d been back to the scene and found a colleague, John, who was with an injured girl. They both stayed with her. They got her from the scene of the explosion, down into the station and stayed with her until an ambulance picked her up. When he spoke to me, he was back in the arena office with everyone else. Nobody was injured, luckily. He called me to pick him up around 2:30am. Obviously, the roads were blocked off so I managed to get around some back streets to pick him and John up. They were both covered in blood and looked exhausted.
Back at home, we hugged for ages. He told me what he had seen and was completely shocked by everything, as you can imagine. He told me he had seen a girl lying on the floor wearing the same shoes as Jess and the panic he felt thinking it was her. Neither of us got much sleep.
The days that followed were a blur. It still didn’t seem real. Paul had just turned the lights on at the end of the show as he always does, the audience were on a high from watching their favourite singer and parents were waiting to pick up their excited kids. A cowardly bomber killing and injuring innocent people hadn’t entered their minds.
As a city, we’ve shown that we will never fear these low-life’s. The amount of people who attended the One Love Manchester show proved that music is in our soul and nobody can take that away from us. We are the greatest city on Earth.
It’s been over a month since it happened and it’s still very raw for many people. However, seeing everyone in our city coming together has made me even more proud to be from Manchester. Me and Paul have our bee tattoos, we made our donation to the fund. Paul and John have visited the girl they looked after and met her family. We have lost some beautiful people but friendships have also been made, a city came together, we cherish our loved ones even more, hugs are longer, love is stronger and our hearts will mend together.