SITTING in a room filled with darkness and the quiet crackle of the radio wondering where, when and what the next noise will be.
Somewhere in the distance – or it could be closer – a cat screeches. A dash to the window, a quick search, a deep breath out. An oblivious woman in high heels, stumbling home after her expensive nightcap on Dale Street, makes every hair to stand up on end. A siren in the distance, an ear strained; was that outside or the radio? The volume is turned down. Silence. Silence bar a heavy, beating heart.
Is this what the War felt like?
No. No, it didn’t. The war was different. I’m only 24-years-old so can’t comment through primary sources. That’s what teachers would call it in History lessons.
But what those lessons also taught was the unity felt in Liverpool during the Second World War; the spirit of community, the ultimate us vs them mentality against those opposing the Allies, opposing England, opposing the people of Liverpool.
Last night, the enemy were our own; those we share the same buses, trains and air with. That’s what upsets and astounds the most. Hundreds of Scousers causing havoc throughout Smithdown Road, Upper Parliament Street and Hardman Street. Their motives as confusing as their route into the city centre.
To be living in the area they’re rumoured to be edging towards is frightening, but to think there’s such a large number of people who are willing to cause destruction to everything within reach is most frightening of all.
People will argue it’s the smallest minority; but the fact the minority even exists is what hurts most.
Liverpool has started to win its decades-long battle with the stigma padlocked around the Liver Birds’ necks. Their heads now hold high above a city transformed. Some areas, particularly the inner-city, still need regeneration; but now, the centre – finally – has the aesthetic beauty to match the sense of culture and community within it.
With weapons and fire, a mindless mob is threatening to ruin both.
As Twitter and Facebook exploded on Monday night, leaving misinformation and overdramatisation in its wake, the city took cover. The images on television, 200 miles away, now a reality in our city; silent prayers Liverpool could prove how far it had come, unanswered.
And so there we were, the city of Liverpool, trapped indoors with terror; the only thing that united the city last night. It was akin to some sort of horror movie, not knowing when or where the next report, true or false, would locate the weapon-wielding mob.
Living five minutes from Liverpool One, their supposed end game, had me feeling as unsafe as I ever have in this city. I can only imagine what those who they actually affected last night felt.
As the sun rose this morning, the streets had cleared of the mob, but the clear-up job has only just begun. Defiant residents of this city took to Smithdown Road and other affected areas to unite, but the real damage cannot be swept with a broom; the shards of what Liverpool had become will take a long time to solder back together.
This whole series of events is bigger than Liverpool. It’s bigger than Manchester, Bristol or Birmingham. It’s even bigger than London. But it’s something I’m not able to comment on fully; there are many on this site more intelligent than me on what this means for the future of this city and this country; I daren’t insult them by trying to speculate.
What I worry about is now; what I worry about is Monday night. What I worry about is how many nights that drunken woman’s high-heel makes me bolt out of bed. The riots may stop, but the damage – both mental and physical – has already been done; let’s just hope both can repair quickly.