Happy to be (almost) French

This lovely story was published in (Je Suis) Charlie Hebdo, and one of the journalists on the national radio thought it worthy of broadcasting this morning, though I don’t know which day the incident occurred. It’s an example of some streak in the French psyche that I find appealing.

It was in one of the Paris suburbs in the early hours of the morning, a teenage couple on a scooter was involved in an accident with a lorry. Both kids were in a desperate state when the emergency services arrived. The article describes the gestures of the team as they assessed the damage and began the stressful job of keeping the couple alive. Suddenly, a window was opened in a nearby apartment and music flowed out into the silence as someone began to play the piano. The medics listened, worked without speaking so as not to miss a note. Their movements calmed, they became more optimistic. As they carried the two teenagers to the ambulance, the music slowed and faded, ending on a majestic chord. The window closed, and the ambulance left.
The two kids are now out of danger, and as the reporter said, free to live and love and crash their scooter again. He went on to thank the anonymous pianist who would otherwise never know how the soothing music of her/his playing helped to save two lives.

I’m not French and never will be, but this is the kind of story that makes me think I’m really quite lucky to be almost French.


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Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

6 thoughts on “Happy to be (almost) French”

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