In the morning, I went grocery shopping, hauled the food back home then I bought a coffee at Starbucks and walked to my grand-mother’s place to share a cup with her. I came home around 2 p.m. and immediately left for a long walk with my mum and Mark until 6:30 p.m., I went out again to pick up some meat and dairy at the closest supermarket, then I worked while Mark was out with Feng. They came back at 8:30 p.m. and as soon as they stepped in, I put Mark in the bathtub (he was covered in dust from the playground) and I joined him—he washed my face, I washed his hair, he sprayed water all over and so did I. I finished working around 9:30 p.m. when Mark was watching cartoons with my dad, eating his early (! We eat later) dinner. I sighed. Hungry. Tired.
“I’m taking a walk around the block to clear my head!” I said to no one in particular. “Feng, wanna come?”
He shook his head. “Nah. Raining. Cold.”
And also, he was playing Candy Crush on the tablet.
I grabbed my keys, my lighter, and a cigarette and I headed out. I walked up rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, turned at rue de Santeuil, went down rue Crébillon and then rue de la Fosse. The quick five-minute walk around the block—well, one of the blocks.
A few doors from my parents’ place, I slowed down. Suddenly, I noticed how quiet the streets were. It was raining a little bit and it was noticeably cooler. During the days, the city is packed with tourists, mostly from neighbouring towns and countries. Nowadays, Nantes seems to be on many tourists’ map, it’s a popular destination.
But at 9:30 p.m. on this rainy evening, time had stopped. All the stores were closed, only bars and restaurants were waiting for customers who were presumably still hiding from the rain somewhere. Small puddles had formed here and there and the pavement was shining wet.
I saw this woman, cleaning an empty hallway in a building, sweeping dust and cleaning footprint. “If I had my camera, I would have taken a picture,” I thought. Then I paused and looked around. The lights, the wet pavement, the empty streets… I felt inspired.
I pushed the door of my parents’ building, climbed the stairs and stepped in again. “I just… need to go out take some pictures!” Mark was still watching TV, eating a yogurt. My parents were relaxing. We’d eat later.
Once again, I walked around the block, slower this time. The woman cleaning the hallway was still there, and I took a few more pictures, trying to capture the moment—this quiet hour after the end of the business day and before the night begins, bringing in a whole new crowd of people looking for food, drinks and parties.