My weekend in PaRis gave me a lot of room for thought. I found myself sitting in cafés, en terrasse and I’m so glad I went to meet my lovely writer friends. But I found something slowly changing, not in Paris, but in me. The people were as wonderful and charming and open as ever but after hearing some of the stories first hand, I have to say, something was seeping up inside me.
I was sitting behind an open window in a restaurant and I saw a man with a large coat and a phone. And I wondered, what is this man carrying under his coat? Later, I heard a talk on the radio about how the suicide hotline was experiencing more than three times the amounts of phone calls, from people afraid to leave their homes since Friday 13. I began to miss my children, wanted to hold them, stroke their cuddly warm cheeks.
I’m so thankful that none of my talented wonderful friends in Paris were hurt. For the ones who lost loved ones, their pain doesn’t bear thinking of and I feel a sadness for them and for their loss. It’s easy to say ‘je suis en terrasse,’ and even spend a weekend visiting Paris and proving fearlessness, but the sadness is there, inside.
And yet I want to go back, I am missing a loving thanksgiving get-together in Paris tonight, not because I want to (and can’t afford yet another train ticket 🙂 ) but because I feel the need to be with my children. I need to deal with my sadness and maybe also with a little fear. I need to find out where and how it is that I’ll place this most vile act of terrorism in my view of things before I can return to the city of lights without feeling wary.
As one victim personally affected wrote:
“We must go to concerts,” he said. “We must sit on terraces. We can still smile with scars on our face. We will lick our wounds and then will all live with our scars; it doesn’t stop us from being happy. There’s no choice.”
For me, right now, that means get together, and be with loved ones. It’s time to focus on what really counts. And then, I’ll be back en terrasse, show my support, just the way it should be.