A day like any other: feed the cat; a boy ready for school; work in the apartment. A trip to the grocery.

On the way to the grocery, the french flag in the Place de Clichy caught the light in an uncommon way. It’s 2 pm. A strange mix of pride and pity — melancholy, maybe — flowed through me. Why I do not know. I shopped. Bought a birthday present; fetched the boy from school. Shower. The table is set for a dinner party.

Let’s go back to January. The Charlie Hebdo attack. Days and demonstrations follow. People would jump at the sound of a siren. I felt us waiting for the second shoe to drop. Everyone was on edge.

It was a day like any other. Friends arrived for dinner. Aperitif. Lamb with sides. Wine. Cheese. Baguette. A phone buzzed with a text. Why this did not bother me I can not say. The wine? The earlier scotch? The ongoing interruptions for a smoke on the balcony? The message came from Italy, one sister to another. Are you okay?

Shots are being fired.

We had forgotten. That the other shoe would drop. Spring comes and goes. Summer: people leave and return. The start of school. To life as normal. The other shoe did not drop. But we forgot that shoes come in pairs. In Paris.

That text.

The shoe has dropped. Hard.

About Richard Anderson

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