Monday, 10 April 2017

Thoughts and feelings after the first day back at work

Today was my first day back. Back at the tourist information desk at the department store. I couldn't sleep last night; I was so nervous and worried about how it would feel to be back.

I was there 30 minutes earlier than usual because we had to clean a bit, get information and go to the meeting set up by the department store managers. The atmosphere was subdued and heavy throughout the day, but mixed with a fierce determination to try our best to pretend it was just any other Monday. At the meeting the managers spoke and introduced us to a crisis group that would be available for us at the store throughout the day if we needed to talk, they also encouraged us to talk to each other, and everyone in the staff were very keen to provide hugs and support to each other. During the meeting and during the day I saw several employees burst into tears, probably they shouldn't have been there so soon after, but we all knew that the longer you wait to get back to it, the harder it will get. So we were there, doing our best to move on.

The building still smelled of smoke, sort of acrid, but the hole in the wall had been covered up. Apart from the smell and the heavy atmosphere there was nothing on the second floor (where we are) to remind us of what had happened.

At noon there was a national silent minute. They announced it on the speakers just before it happened, and it felt unreal to watch everyone just stop and be silent. The whole shop came to a standstill. Just for a minute. When it was over they announced it again on the speakers, and everyone continued about their day; for a little while afterwards everyone was quieter than usual.

My shift ended at 2pm and that's when I went outside to have a proper look around. There were crowds all around the flower places and I noticed that people were still putting up flowers. Three days later. So I decided to do the same and bought a small bouquet of yellow roses. There was no condemnation anywhere, just notes of love, courage, encouragement, sorrow, and condoleances. Most of the wall of the department store, next to the covered up hole, had been covered with coloured notes written in many different languages. Two police cars were covered in flowers, the stone lions put up to hinder traffic on the pedestrain street were also covered in flowers, the street in front of the hole in the wall were covered, and the steps to the square across the street even more so. Swedish flags were everywhere along with candles and outdoor torches, gone out in the wind and rain.

 The street in front of the hole, and the covered up hole
 Two police cars covered in flowers
 Post-it wall, and the steps to the square across the street

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