So it’s been exactly a week. A week since life as we knew it here in Paris was suddenly – in a rampage of bullets and bombs – no more.
How far we’ve come since then. Or at least I know that I have, making my way through various stages of mourning, moment by moment, in no particular order – shock, horror, pain, sadness, despair, impotence, loss, anger, fear, compassion, love… So much love! How stunning that these vicious acts of pure violence so imbued with hate should give rise to such an outpouring of love.
Even ordinary contact with people in the streets, in the Métro, in shops and offices seems different, somehow softer, as if an edge had been smoothed in us all.
I heard that tonight at the place de la République people spontaneously gathered (public gatherings are officially forbidden under our state of emergency) and held hands and sang and drank Champagne, marking the tragedy with an insuppressible expression of life in all its splendour. It was as if they were saying, ‘We humans love this life of ours, so beautiful and, alas, so tragic.’
Just like Leonard Cohen says: ‘Everything has a crack; that’s how the light gets in.’ And this week in Paris, the light has been pouring in.