I haven't been to Paris in over twenty years but Paris was always there. In my mind still a road trip away, even though in reality it would take me two plane rides, these days, to get to the city of love: Paris was always there.
But on this Friday the 13th – a day of all dates – the world was horrified while Paris was changed into a horrific war zone. Between one "thank God it's Friday drink" and the Saturday morning paper, the French capital was murdered in cold blood.
However in the spirit of a decent horror movie, it mercifully seemed to be a near death experience and gasping for air she survived the brutal slaying scarcely.
Nevertheless, it will take years to nurse her back to health. To make her as carefree adventurous, spiritual nostalgic and foremost in love with love, as she once was. People will look at her differently for a very long time; will remember her for this day of terror and cruelty, for years to come.
I remember being pregnant with my first daughter in 2007. Full of life and excitement I flew to New York to catch up with a friend and do some serious shopping, but I ended up walking the grounds of Ground Zero, crying for the death of a piece of mankind.
These current wounds are still so fresh, not even fully accounted for, but I already have the same heartbreaking feeling that a piece of all of us has died tonight. A piece of peace. A piece of hope. A piece of freedom. A piece of love.
No matter what your heritage, color or race; no matter what your religion, believes or convictions: in the end we all – every single one of us – suffer a great loss at the hands of terrorism and extremism.
By Manon Hoefman