“If a century, this.”

french angel

It seems impossible now but I was just writing an email to a friend and in response to her question, “How are your children?”, I typed “Brendan is in Paris.” Then the phone rang. It was Forrest, in Ottawa, asking if we’d heard about the attacks in Paris and was there any news of Brendan. I’d been in the garden and John in the printshop so the radio was quiet. No, we didn’t know about Paris. A quick call to Cristen who said she’d had a good-night message from Brendan on his return to his hotel from dinner with friends. She thought he’d gone to bed. And his phone was turned off.

There are no words for the horror of what happened yesterday. Maybe we will find some. I thought of the young couple in the bakery in Bordeaux in March saying that they were hoping to come to Canada. And the concierge at our hotel in Toulouse, saying he wanted to move his family to Montreal. Those beautiful cities with their ancient churches, their fountains, their monuments. Yet there is no safety. Just when it’s least expected — a soccer game, a concert, a meal in a restaurant on a Friday evening. My own son sleeping in a hotel while around him sirens, ambulances taking away the wounded, the dead. I can’t make sense of it.

In the night, in response to the message I’d sent, three words on the screen of my tablet. “Yep, I’m fine.” And no more, because what can anyone say? Yet?

When I woke, I thought of Carolyn Forché’s The Angel of History:

In the night-vaulted corridors of the Hôtel-Dieu it is winter.

If a city, ruin, if an animal, hunger.

If a grave, anonymous.

If a century, this.

 

 

Advertisements

~ by theresakishkan on November 14, 2015.

2 Responses to ““If a century, this.””

  1. Beautiful, Theresa. So glad your son is safe.

    • He’s on his way home now, Beth, which is a happy ending for him (and all of us) but what a horrific thing for those in Bataclan and those restaurants, the Stade de France.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: