It is a bit strange to go about life as normal when the state of the city is not normal. When I walk in the streets and in the metro, nothing is out of the ordinary. People are commuting, reading their papers, and on their phones. They’re in the supermarket, in restaurants, at work, and in class.
But this morning there is that small group of soldiers and that small group of police officers in the metro station that are not usually there. On my way home at night, I wait to cross a busy street in my neighborhood and see a few police officers standing on the corner to my right, smoking and chatting, obviously due to stay there for a while, and a slow-moving police car passing on my left. The vehicle is at full capacity with officers both in the front and the back. I read a news article that stated that 3,000 police officers are on task, and though the number seems large, I believe it.
Before going anywhere, I check the public transportation web site to make sure no metro lines are blocked or delayed. Surprisingly, only one is, due to a suspicious package, which is a regularly occurring reason for delays.
My colleagues and I check the news during the day, always wondering if there will be more bad news, more violence, more disheartening updates.
I think about how I’m glad I flew back here before this all happened, as I don’t know what would have been going through my mind if I traveled to Paris the day of and what the airport would have been like.
I think about how all over the city, people’s lives have been directly affected and that Wednesday night was probably the worst day of the victims’ families’ lives.
I think about the police officers out there working and how scared some of their families might be. How some of them are working around the clock. How they might be nervous that their uniform could make them a target.
I think about the good Muslims who may be worried about backlash from recent events.
Everything seems a bit more tenuous. Everything seems a bit more exposed.