It was 3.00am on August 26th 1997, and I was lying drunk on the floor of Stasia’s cottage, in the heart of Colonies, at the bottom of majestic Edinburgh. It was a particularly average summer, warm, humid but mainly overcast. The night air felt thick with the weight of drunkeness around my face and the smoke danced languidly above my head. I was swirling in a happy place, sharing the shadows of lamplight with my friends and giggling at the past evenings events. The radio was wooing us in the distance with cheesy eighties love songs. When suddenly a voice pierced icily into our warm haze.
“News just in – The Princess of Wales has been involved in car crash in Paris. It is unknown at this time the severity of the accident but her situation is thought to be critical.” The news landed into the room with a jolt.
I sat up, the room shot round like a waltzer. “ Did you hear that Stasia? Did everyone hear that, or was I tripping? Princess Diana has been in a car accident. Shit! I can’t believe it. Weird.” I slumped back, waiting for the room to stop spinning.
Barry, Stasia, Figgis and I sat up, numbed by the news. The enormity of it slowly dawning on us. Quietly we all muttered questions – too wasted to make any sense of what we had heard.
Figgis got up, turned the radio off and put a tape on to prevent another reality intrusion; but the warmth of the womb that had nurtured us had been coldly cut open, and it was time to end the night with sleep. In the morning, we turned the radio on and learnt that the Princess of Wales had in fact died in the crash and that it wasn’t a fuggy, drunken dream but a real time shared experience. Significant only because we shared that moment together, and so, when people ask;
“Do you remember what you were doing when Princess Diana died?”
I think fondly of my three friends, who were so instrumental in shaping my life, and whose journeys have now taken us all down separate paths.
Later that year, on 20th October 1997, I met Hagar on a blind date in Edinburgh set up by Stasia – at this time, I had clean snapped in two my fibula and tibia, in my ankle, and was lodging with my gran, Betty in York, healing. This marked the beginning of the journey from who I was then to who I am now.