His name was Mathias, her name was Marie.
What was going through their minds that evening, when the first shots were fired, when they first understood that the noises weren’t part of the show, when the curtains were first stained?
Did they fall straight away? Did they see the men arrive?
Did he take you in his arms when you screamed? Did she grab your hand, did you grip hers?
Did she know, amid the joyous cries, the happy dance, the mad laughs and the kisses, when she received the tickets? Did he know, the rhythm, the highs, the happiness and the blown out candles, when the song had only just begun?
Did she cry, during those first notes, those first shots, for the last shout, the last piece of life? Did he say, quick, I love you, if only you knew, quick, let’s go, let’s run, quick, fly, take me, kiss me, hold me tight, don’t let me go?
Did she laugh, this Friday, tapping her fingers excitedly on the table, did she mark the date in her diary, did she trip over loose cables in her excitement, did she put her make up on? Did he feel that the wind was a little cooler this Friday, did he zip up his jacket, push down his baseball cap, walk a little faster, quick, we’re going to be late, it’s going to start, it’s going to be so good, just wait and see?
Did she hear him fall, hear him roll, did she hold him in her arms, did she kiss his cold face? Did he see her run, see her leave, feel her frailty, smell her blood, slide down in her arms?
Did they crumble together, quick, come, it’s time, we won’t feel anything, if only you knew, did he hold her, did she caress him, quick, it’s going to be so good, you’ll see, quick, I love you, kiss me, squeeze me and don’t let me go don’t let me go?
Did they see – this small guy with glasses, short hair, red lips, this girl in leather, earrings, long fringe, the changeable smile, the nose ever so slightly too big, the tiny scars, the freckles, this cheerful little blonde girl – the hands that clap, the tongues that click, the sweat on foreheads, the laughter that raises the roof?
Did they find out, did they see, did they all kiss each other, did they all fall, did they all leave, quick quick, the rhythm, the men, the bullets, did they find out, did they see, the blackness, the fear, the cries, quick, quick, leave with me, don’t leave me, quick, quick, it’s going to be so good, you’ll see?
And you, Paris, do you know when you cry when you moan when you roll on the ground when your face cracks when you tremble when your lips quiver when you shout when you stagger when your bridges sway when your traffic lights stop when your cafés burst when the bullets hit when your streets whistle when your pavements creak when your kids fall down when the candles are lit when you get back up when your trees stand tall when your people hoist themselves up when your colours fly when your proud population yells out when your sails go long when you live Paris do you know when when do you know that you are beautiful when Paris do you know that you are beautiful when you love when you resist when you sing when you exist?
I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Chloe Dunn for her beautiful translation of my original text. She did an amazing job in finding the appropriate words in English and I am forever grateful to her.