Friday, 13 November 2015

Paris

I was going to write about the walk home in the dark, standing in the bus stop in the darkness and watching the streetlamps flicker in the autumn night. I was going to write about watching the John Lewis advert over and over again. I was going to write about having another short story published. I was going to write about not blogging enough.

But then Paris happened.

We were watching Gogglebox. We were laughing at Leon and June and their comments on Billy Elliott. We turned over to Newsnight. We heard the words "shootings" and saw ambulances. We heard "Paris." And then it was all different.

My friend was in France. She'd been in Paris, as far as I knew. I logged onto Twitter, shivering. There were tears prickling at my eyes. I felt as though I was about to be sick. I typed a message to her. No response.

My timeline was screaming with messages of horror. I'm sitting in front of the news right now, staring at the BBC, Twitter refreshing constantly. I hadn't spoken to my friend in ages. Nothing bad had happened between us, we just hadn't spoken much.

On the BBC website, it had breaking news about hostages. I ran upstairs to grab my phone and it was dead. I was shaking it and it wouldn't work. I felt like I was going to vomit. There were bodies on the news. My friend said she and her friends went out at night sometimes. My mother was on the edge of the couch, staring at the news. My dad was hugging a cushion. Any thought of going to bed that I'd had a few minutes ago was gone. I sat there, waiting. Wild thoughts raced around my mind about it being a sick, wild joke. It felt like an hour had changed everything.

Still no word from my friend. I started praying. She's a devout Christian, and I knew it couldn't hurt. I couldn't remember when I last spoke to her. Please, let her be safe.

I frantically typed a message to our other friend. She knows our friend in France far better. She would know where she was. I typed her a message. Please. Please. Is she in Paris? Where is she?

I felt like I was going to be sick. I felt hot and cold at once. I was shivering. I didn't know whether I was going to cry or scream. I was shaking.

My ipod pinged. It was a Twitter message. I dived for it.

My friend was there. "She's not in Paris, girlie. She's in the south of France, near Marseille."
I felt like I was going to collapse. I didn't cry but I held onto the phone and all I could type was "Thank God."

I'm still sitting in front of the news. I'm sitting here, shivering and it's only now that I can feel the shock, sending sickness into my stomach. My mother is next to me so I don't have to watch it alone. My father is tracking the news upstairs on the BBC newsfeed. It feels like the end of the world. Like this is what the end of the world will be like.

I watch Obama speak and as weird as it is, I kind of want our Prime Minister to come out there and speak too. It sounds incredibly weird, but I suppose right now's when everyone feels a sense of patriotism, of wanting someone to come out and provide some reassurance when there can almost certainly be none. For some reason, it would feel better to see our leaders too, to know that there's something we can do.

Right now, we're waiting. We're waiting and praying and watching. There are hostages now. It feels like everything ending. I'm watching with my family and on the Internet, it feels like the world is watching too.

My friend is safe. I hang onto that. We watch and we pray. We watch and hope and pray and we are all watching together. Right now, all of us, no matter how different, are watching. All of us are watching together.

1 comment:

  1. Omg how terrible must it have been tow wait for that twitter response, or for those who's family members have been out that night. There are articles coming up everywhere, and there's a list being published: a list of all the cities IS has planned to attack, even a city I live next to. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to lose loved ones or what it's like to live with that constant fear of being attacked...Why do humans have to be that cruel? Why do we keep hurting others, innocent lives? I'm so thankful for every article published about that theme and your's is great!
    xx

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