Walking into the Commons building at Bath Spa University I was stunned to see the map still showing in satellite view on the MediaWall.
It was showing the last day of the walk, live as we had left it. My tears were not dry. I am still waking on that endless walk, a whole body anxiety that I might not get there, might not make it in time. Think of Esther and the others. Imagining myself walking. Feeling it shift and blur and decay to damp powder in my memory’s hands, like rotten wood. A flashback shock that burned with me .
The walk had been well watched and as we learned more, we heard of a crowd gathering in front of it watching the dots of the Social Hiking beacon advance and the blue social media markers light up as we made our way live. Conversations resonated from the space. We heard of and later met a former tank driver who had been stationed at the barracks we had visited where Esther had been hospitalised. He had stood and with his work mates watched our path light up. He urgently wanted to share his experience and we stood in front of the track of our walk, looking at the satellite view of our retracing of Esther’s forced march and he identified his places. Told of his sensed echoes of Belsen survivors. Ghost in the camp. The Cold War resonates. In our heads we mapped together.