Je pleure, et je prie (I weep, and I pray)

You went out to a football match, a cafe’, a concert on a Friday night.

Went with friends to have a few drinks, maybe go clubbing later; or with family, to have a bite to eat, relax, enjoy a Fall evening.

Perhaps to get lost in thrashing heavy metal.

Through the night, your friends and families have rung your phones, telling themselves you can’t answer because in the madness, in the rush to get out, get away, (which you have, you have, they are certain) you’ve lost your phone, or the gendarmes have ordered cellphones switched off, or some other innocuous reason, any reason, really, except the one that will come with dawn.

Or maybe it comes later today, in the afternoon or evening when the ticking of hours has trickled icily into your loved ones’ consciousness, and when their phone finally rings with an unfamiliar number, the gendarme knocks at the door, the hospital attendant with the sober countenance says gently, “S’il vous plait…” and leads your beloveds to a quiet, so quiet room, the horrible confirmation. The sinking to the knees, the loss of breath, the reflexive, NON!

And I weep with them, those you left behind. And I pray for them.

The others, the fallen but not lost, even now their loved ones sit in waiting rooms, or pray by bedsides, maybe they feel both guilt and relief – in all this madness, their son, their friend, their mother was caught but not lost. And I weep, and I pray with them.

And I weep with them, who will live with the horror and the scars. And I pray for them.

For France, for the world, je pleure, et je prie (I weep, and I pray).

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