I cried myself to sleep Thursday night.
I cried because my happy place will never be the same.
Nice, with its endless stretch of azure water– a view unbroken, unspoiled.
Soon to be marred by security devices.
Which will be deemed necessary, but will protect nothing.
The sound of the famous Nice pebbles (one of which sits in front of me now) tumbling in the sea.
A view that I would close my eyes and picture when I needed to sleep after a tough day.
Shadowed by the spirits of the dead.
Suddenly, I understood what makes people leave flowers.
I want to go and leave flowers.
I want to leave flowers, not at the site of the massacre, but by the American Consulate where on September 12, 2001 the French had placed flowers and a sign that read “Aujourd’hui nous sommes tous Américains” (today we are all Americans).
Tears ran down our faces and we’ll never forget it.
I want to go to Nice and comfort the people who have always been so kind to me.
I’m crying for a place I’ve wanted to make my home since the first time my feet hit the pavement of the vielle ville.
Since I first laid eyes on the incredible colors…. Of the buildings — that yellow with a touch of ochre (never duplicated here). The amazing azure of both sea and sky. The brilliance of red peppers and deep purple artichokes. I’ve needed to live there.
Is it hate that drives someone to mow down hundreds?
Or a testosterone-driven need to leave in the ugliest way possible?
And leave a legacy that will last.
If we let it.
I’ll be back in Nice.
Will I stay another month or longer?
Will I live there someday soon?
How long will it take before I can close my eyes and see the long stretch of beach without seeing horror?
And most importantly, will it still be my happy place?
Thanks Ellen. I know that we’ll both return to our happy places, because that’s what we do–what we have to do. There will always be a place where we know what it was like before and we’ll cherish that.
p.s., i choked up when I read it ;<(
your message was beautiful and unforgettable – sad, poignant, and loving…merveilleux.
Your thoughts are so very poignant Anne. The events of this past week and month, and year, have made me so very sad. Our happy place is Paris, and we looked forward to returning this year…..but we didn’t. We went to Quebec instead. Does that mean the terrorists have won, or are we just being cautious? Or, are we paralyzed in fear from events both national and international? I don’t know.
Your beautifully written piece was so heartfelt, but it made me so sad. This I do know. You will return to Nice. But, for now, when you close your eyes, you’ll see the Nice of your dreams. In time, you’ll be able to open your eyes, and it will be your happy place again.
Thank you Wanda.
I’m still speechless, can’t grasp it. Your writing is beautiful, thank you for this little piece of homage.
You said it so well. I hold Nice – that beautiful city – the victims – all who suffered – in my heart.
Beautiful post, Anne. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.