For his last day in Paris, I wanted to take Errol to a concert. It was the end of the season and nothing rally caught my eyes. I would have been tempted by to see Emir Kusturica’s Time of the Gypsies at the Opéra Bastille. Impossible. All tickets were gone.
Then came Rémi, my dear music lover friend. He called me to suggest a concert by the Kronos Quartet. Great! Superb! It was to be one of the last ones of the yearly Festival Saint-Denis that takes place in the town’s beautiful church.
The eclectic program included works by American composers: John Adams, Terry Riley, Clint Mansell, Osvaldo Golijov and Felipe Pérez Santiago.
More than two hours of music. We were all under the spell.
The day had started on a darker note. I was walking on the street from my home to the metro station when I had the feeling that somethig was suspended in time. People were gathering and watching something, motionless. As I came closer I saw a young woman lying on the ground. She wore a navy blue long skirt with white flower pattern. A hat had fallen a few meters away from her. A pool of blood spreading under her head. A police-woman was trying to bring her back to life. Blood kept spreading slowly on the asphalt. A black woman was standing behind, petrified by shock, her hands in front of her mouth. I knew it was useless. The young woman had already gone. She was now just a inanimate thing on the ground. I could feel hHer soul hovering over us. There was a deep silence surrounding us as if all noise, all sound had suddenly stopped. I had felt the same thing when I watched one of my aunts died in her bed in front of my eyes, when I saw the little cat Pablo agonizing after the accident. In spite of the tragedy, the atmosphere were almost peaceful.
A few hours later, I saw flowers near the spot of the tragedy. An anonymous homage to an anonymous woman.
Errol and I had a drink after the concert. There were many nice bars on the Canal St Martin. He was staying at a friend's place. Not really a friend, maybe one of these numerous middle aged Frenchmen who drool at the sight of fresh young blood. Errol had been trying to put some distance between himself and them. I was feeling very emotional. What would happen to him afterward? He would go back to Hong Kong, keep on with his studies.
"I want to come back to Europe. I love it here. I feel so free..."
I walked him back to his friend's place. It was already quite late. We didn't want to say goodbye, but we had to. He was sobbing silently. I couldn't say anything. I saw him standing there, looking at me walking away until the very last second. I was deeply moved.
The night is on. Another story begins.