After dining in the XI district of Paris, a friend and I were walking on Rue de Charonne.
It was a quarter to ten on Friday evening, November 13th, 2015. The street was empty despite being a warm weekend evening. There were no cars but many sirens. I was in my neighborhood where I always felt safe coming home at any hour during the night , worry free. We were at a bus stop, in front of a cyber cafe, there were people inside when suddenly a black guy came out with fear in his eyes and said: «there is gunfire close by , they're escaping! Go back home! On foot, don't take the tram or bus! Don't take public transport! It's dangerous outside! Go!»
He disappeared, I may have thanked him, I don't remember. But I do remember suddenly figuring it out and we took off. I only looked down at the sidewalk while I was walking quickly. I was worried I would fall down. Only a kilometer separated me from home, although it seemed further. I wasn't stopping for traffic lights or pedestrian cross walks only glancing up occasionally. The streets were emptier and emptier, a few people were running and the cafes were closed. The tension in the air was terrifying and some people screamed something I didn't understand. Every step was one step closer and each step I took I thought «I am almost there, I am almost home.»
I repeated this 1176 times for each step it took me to get home.