When words are not enough

I don’t have the words today.

Ha. I say that as if there exist any words on the planet that could reduce the hurt, wind back the clock, or offer any sense of real comfort to the victims, to their families, to their friends and colleagues. The words do not exist.

And yet I feel I have to try.

We are all in shock, in mourning, desperate and devastated by the incomprehensible events of this weekend. Having had the extreme luck to be safe and sound at home on Friday night, I can only permit myself to comment on The After.

‘How the hell are we supposed to just go to the bakery in the morning to buy a baguette?’ I texted to a friend, in the early hours of Saturday morning. ‘While freaking out,’ she replied.

I spent Saturday holed up in my apartment with a friend who had stayed the night, making endless cups of tea and ingesting all available carbohydrates while alternating between fielding calls and texts on our mobiles, scanning live updates on my laptop and listening to the news. I visited a friend on Saturday night, and on Sunday invited everyone into our place for comfort food and company.

And now, Monday. The day of the week we all dread, usually. And yet, this weekend we were almost hungry for it. For our offices and colleagues and relative comfort of the known.

Today begs the question: what do we, the regular everyday citizens of this fine city, do now?

Do we live our lives as normal (how can we)?

Do we change our habits, our walking routes, and always have the nearest exit in mind (how can we)?

Do we, for want of a better word, let this serve as a wakeup call? For whatever it is that we would do differently had that ‘quick drink in a bar’ or ‘fun Friday night concert’ tragically been our last?

What would you change?

Which words would you not leave unsaid?

Who would you hug tightly to your chest, what others think be damned?

In a world ruled by fear is the answer perhaps not more caution, but less?


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