There were a lot of people in the subway Thursday at 8 o’clock in the morning. The oars being further apart than usual, I did not want, despite the presence of a little 4-year-old companion, to wait for the next one. School is sacred. Arriving on time is well worth breathing in for ten stops the smell of coats, anoraks and big sweaters on which, despite himself, the child would have his nose pressed. It must be said that, if I often pick him up at school, it was the first time that I took him there. I felt like I was taking a passing exam. Would they entrust it to me again, if we arrived late?
I should have left earlier, but I lost a few minutes when, barely in the street, we realized, the child and I, that we had forgotten the book of knights and castles that he absolutely wanted bring to class where, for several weeks already, we had been studying the Middle Ages. So we hurried back up. These false starts are a classic that I inherited from my mother. We used to tease my sister and I with this saw: “What does mom do when she leaves? She returns. »
It was bitterly cold outside, but the school was only two hundred meters from the station. Next to me, the little boy was walking briskly, interspersed with the hopping of a goat. Already in the mood, he was singing: “In my fortified castle, I am safe. I go in and I go out by the drawbridge. He led me upstairs to his classroom, hung his down jacket and hat on the hanger marked with his name, then hurried to show his teacher his book, without hearing me recommend it. greet first. She showed him interest. I followed him with my eyes for a moment longer, then I went home. On the way, I sent a message to the parents: the child was in class, end of mission.
The whole thing lasted half an hour, and one could say that “everything went well”, synonymous with “there is nothing to tell”, and I refrain from writing more. So many other details amazed me! The less we say about these moments when everything is going well, when the child arrives at school like every morning and like thirteen million students in France, the less they are valuable. The less they exist, basically. Yet we are incredibly lucky to experience these moments, a chance that is not given to everyone, surely it is only given to a minority of us on earth. A chance that makes your head spin and which, just as much as great misfortunes, induce the classic question, “why me”?
Why is it not my city but another, in another country, which disappears in an earthquake? Why is it not my city but another, in another country, that the Russian bombardments aim at? Why isn’t it my child but someone else’s that they’re looking for in the rubble? Why was this haggard woman glimpsed on yesterday’s television news, sitting in the cold on her pile of stones, not me but someone else?
Unhappiness is hard to imagine. We direct our thoughts towards the other, we approach him, we try to be afraid with him, cold with him, we want to cry with him, to be him, in short, and to share his pain, his fragility, the relieve it a little. It is not in vain, we have all verified it in the trying occasions of our lives, love, the attention of relatives, less close and even strangers, their sympathy, have power. But the part of the inaccessible, of the unimaginable remains immense, and for those who cannot do anything concrete, of immediate repair, it is a barrier, a wall.
How to circumvent it and even cross it, how to stay together? How does one come to exalt one’s own luck, one’s own happiness, not so that they divert you from the misfortune of others but so that they bring you closer to it? That morning, I wanted to say thank you to everything. Thank you, of course, to the earth for not slipping under our feet, and to the morning sun for lighting up the sky! But with even more fervor, thanks to what isn’t self-evident, to what wouldn’t be there if we didn’t worry about it.
Thanks to a thousand little things, such as the badge that gives access to the platform, to each turn of the metro wheel that allows us to arrive on time, to the little siren announcing the closing of the doors, to the escalator that is not broken down, to the dustbins which have just been emptied, to this infinity of details which, during a brief trip to school, bear witness to an organized country, whose walls hold firm, a country in which everyone would like, if they could, to see their child grow up. A country where the child himself, his songs testify to it, in his fortified castle, feels sheltered.
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