Paris Latley


We were at home on Friday night when we heard the horrendous news about the terrorist attacks. Earlier on in the evening, when we'd both just returned from work, Ian and I were contemplating going out for a few drinks but decided to stay in instead. On the walk home from work, the atmosphere was the same as any other; carefree people laughed and chatted with their friends over a drink after another days work, full of life, prospects and happiness, all reveling in the Friday night feeling; knowing that they had the whole weekend, and their lives, ahead of them!

I love walking back from work because the atmosphere's so vibrant, it rubs off on you and leaves you smiling to yourself and walking with a spring in your step. It's the same every night of the week, from Monday, straight through to Sunday, of course even more so on a Friday and Saturday night. But this Friday night was not destined for its' usual spender, instead it would shake the world...

Whilst cooking dinner, Ian received a notification on his phone from the BBC news that there'd been shootings in Paris by the football stadium, we were both so shocked and in disbelief but as the football match, which we were watching on TV, carried on as normal and no information about the events were on any French news websites, we couldn't even begin to imagine the full extent of the events. By the time the football match had finished, the news was everywhere, there'd been so many shootings and explosions and people were taken hostage in the Bataclan. We sat in silence, watching the news on TV and refreshing the online news websites for more information until 3.30AM. We were flooded with messages from friends and family, all worried for our safety. We contacted our other friends in Paris to check they were all safe and reassured each other. After opening the windows for fresh air, we were greeted with the blaring sound of ambulances and police cars. The air was filled with those piercing sounds which no one ever wants to hear. They haven't stopped since.

One of our friends was in a nearby pub when it happened, at first they locked the doors, pulled down the shutters and put bars up but after the landlady found out that someone she knew had been killed, they chose to close the pub and kicked everyone out. He described seeing people being resuscitated in the street and blood everywhere...
We were advised by the government to stay inside the following day, we spent the whole time watching the news in disbelief that anyone was capable of doing something so incredibly barbaric and horrific. Images of people frantically trying to escape deadly bullets etched in our minds from them being televised on the news repeatedly, though the terror we felt never faded and felt as raw as the very first time we saw it. The next day we decided to go out, we were both nervous at first and straight away you could feel how the atmosphere had changed. The usual chirpy faces, hustle and bustle and happiness had been replaced by a respectful solemness and somewhat eerie abandonment. Aside from the odd person rushing to get to their destination, the area was virtually deserted! Throughout the day things slowly began to resemble normality a bit more. It was as if Paris was being awoken from a long slumber; people emerged in dribs and drabs, Paris began to open its eyes again, wiping the sleep from her eyes and awakening. Slowly but surely, more life was restored and more people came out into the streets; united! Day by day things are returning, Paris is waking up again.We went to pay our respects at the Bataclan and Place de la Republique. There's a strong feeling of solidarity and compassion which is overwhelming and reassuring to experience, strangers cried on each others shoulders and consoled each other like family. The same thoughts resonated in everyone's minds... why?? and How?? How could anyone do that?

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