Dreaming In Paris
.One day after a frugal breakfast, I took special pleasure in smoking my first cigarette of the day. I enjoyed watching the passers‑by through the window. It was my favorite time of day. I could let myself daydream, oblivious to the surrounding noises. Millions of thoughts raced through my head. Everything was still new to me since I had only recently moved from North Africa to Paris. I had never experienced such noisy and turbulent life. Nothing left me indifferent. And I was very happy, in the same way young people are on their first visit to the city of light. I had known this city only through books and hearsay. Paris had been described to us so much in school; Paris had been so often the object of reveries on the class bench, Paris took on a unique symbolism during my childhood. As I sat in the cafe, all kinds of images marched through my head: the kings of France, the Middle Ages, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, the Revolution, Napoleon, Dreyfus, Emile Zola, Maréchal Philippe Pétain, General De Gaulle, the German soldiers, the Americans soldiers, and the first British parachutists. In a sense, nothing was unknown to me. And yet I felt removed from all of this, everything felt strange.
Then I understood that every human being is alone with himself.
Copyright January 2008 Emile Tubiana