Dancing against death
November 13th, 10 PM, Paris 16th. The evening is in full swing at Sandrine’s. Bodies are swinging in the hubbub of a pretty carefree celebration when the first text messages make their way into the sounds of the party. Faces are panicking, phones are agitated. Some join a quieter room. We turn on the TV. The grim death toll is ticking. A BFM journalist is here. She leaves the apartment in a rush.
Everyone is trying to reach their close-ones. Relatives are going ok, but what about the others? Dice of chance are in turmoil. One was at the Bataclan three hours ago. A journalist friend is trapped inside. Yet another gave a concert there the day before. The son of an acquaintance was shot in the thigh. Others are stuck in the 11th where cafés had their door smashed by the Raid. And then there are the silent ones. Most distant friends whom we will discover the loss, over the following days.
For now, in the hubbub of the evening, the information is still struggling to establish itself. Some ignore all or part of the drama. The others do not always realize the scope or do not know what to think. Going home, staying and dancing? Distraught, some want to leave, join their relatives. A map of Paris’ terror attacks appears on cellphones. Between the 11th and the Stade de France, from the 16th, although one must find a way back? Paris is locked, closed borders are announced. White map, red map, mapping of blood … Some are flabbergasted, stunned, anguished, glued to their cellphones. The others, unconscious or bullies, prefer to keep the drama away. Unmoved, the Djette continues her work and music is still playing. Dancing against death, against the horror, in an ultimate denial, scrounging the final moments of a carefree mind. Reflex of life. Such as in Beirut, as in Tel Aviv. Refusing to offer them the gift of our joy. Besides, we will keep going on the terraces, in theaters. Not afraid…
Still, the reality of the drama unfolding on the other side of Paris gradually swells to invade the entire space. It is scarcely midnight when the last guests leave.
Returning home in a desertic Paris with a pale face on. Looking at the Eiffel Tower suffused with light, so beautiful but so threatened. Feeling already nostalgic, of the carefree peaceful years . Of the confident brotherhood. Of the quiet certainties. This time, the party is over.