I often see her in my neighborhood.
She has a kind face and sometimes I smile or talk a little bit with her.
She used to live in a caravan.
One day when she arrived back home from a long day in the city, trying to earn some money, she found all her animals killed, six kittens and her dogs. A group of young boys had set fire to her caravan.
She didn’t want to live there anymore.
This happened about three years ago.
She says that she is now thinking of living permanently on the street.
She makes about six euros a day which is enough to buy some food. If she needs to take a shower she goes to the Gare du Nord, although she has to get out of there as fast as she can otherwise she gets lost and doesn’t know where she is anymore.
She was married to a Scotsman, but, she says, she had to get away from there too as she would have become lost in the Highlands, so it was better not to be with him anymore.
“I am quite happy now,” she says.
I feel clumsy, trying to stay quiet. I watch how the women around me at the big wooden table delicately eat their rice and salad. There is a reserved concentration in each movement they make and I am unable to copy that. When I walk outside I am relieved to see a young couple burst out in ecstatic laughter.
The two are connected by a white electric wire which is plugged into his left ear and into her right.
He looks calm and happy.
The fingers of his fine brown hands move to the rhythm of music that enters through his left ear. His body starts to move as well.
She is motionless and shows no emotion. But radiates a calm energy.
She raises her soft white porcelain hand towards her chin, as if thinking.
Her fingers curl like blossoming flowers.
I look at my own red hands, lined and wrinkled.
A smile appears on her face as she lets the music enter her body too.
I cannot hear the sounds, but I feel their happiness.