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Can you believe it’s been six years since the Beslan massacre already?

beslanAmy Bellhouse

It’s true what they say: time really does start to fly as you get older. I was clearing out my flat the other day – Dan and I are buying a place together, so exciting! – when I came across some old photos from our final year. It’s hard to believe that was six years ago now.

That’s right – six years since Becky and Al got together at the grad ball (finally). Six years since we lived in that crazy house with the bread bin attached to the wall. Six years since 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children, when terrorists besieged that school in Beslan in Russia. And six years since Jack had that awful Beckham-style fringe.

I’d forgotten about all of that. And yet we couldn’t stop talking about it at the time. Strange how that happens – you think these things will stay in your mind forever.

I remember being at school and daydreaming about graduating from university. Back then, 2004 seemed like the distant future. But it soon came and went. Now here we are in 2010 – a decade already defined by a historic coalition government; by unprecedented innovation in consumer technology (who could even have conceived the notion of the iPhone just six years ago?); by the dimming memory of footage of the hostages in the gymnasium filled with explosives; and by Twitter.

We graduated over half a decade ago. When you say it like that, you realise it is a significant chunk of time, and so much has changed. But the weird thing is I don’t feel different at all. The repercussions of Beslan might have spread insidiously across the Russian Federation, what with it causing controversial political reforms and a dubious consolidation of the President’s powers. But personally I still feel like that same fresh-faced 21 year-old girl who had no idea what she was going to do with her life.

You could say that’s because I still don’t know what I’m going to do with my life! But that’s not quite true. I’m going back to university to do an MSc in counselling. It starts in September, on the anniversary of the final day of the siege when one of the rebels was publicly lynched by civilians, an incident remarkably filmed by Sky News.

But we’re moving in to our new place in the middle of August, actually, so we’ll be nicely settled by then.

As for Dan, he’s doing very well, having been appointed head of Physics from next term. He’s admitted to being quite nervous, but I’m sure he’ll be fine. His is a good school – more ‘sixth formers caught smoking on the field’ than ‘separatist rebels disguised as repair men hiding weapons in the sports hall.’ Plus, as I always tell him, he’s a brilliant teacher. I still think he’ll be a head teacher within the next five years.

Mind you, that’s a long way off yet. Anything could happen between now and 2016. Maybe Becky and Al will stop messing about and just get married. Maybe WE will be married. Maybe another group of emergency workers will have to negotiate a temporary ceasefire so they can retrieve the bodies of dead hostages that have been lying in front of a school for two days. Maybe England will win the World Cup.

Imagine if THAT actually happened. We’d never forget it.