I am playing with the fries on my plate in the Ikea cafeteria in Brussels. In Anderlecht to be specific. Somewhere in the neighbourhood the police had captured Abrini, one of the three terrorists who had conducted the attacks in Brussels on the 22nd of March. “Bad luck, they were not even planned for Belgium”, I hear some guys behind me talking French. You cannot escape the media’s these days.
Life as we know it flows everywhere around us. The same fries with the same meatballs of the same size with the same flag on top of one of them and the same sauce and forest fruit gravy aside. The first day of school after spring break.
I suddenly feel like on holidays. As Jim, my little one would put it, Ikea is the nicest holiday destination: there’s always nice dessert and lots of colourful people.
I look around. I am on holiday. There’s dessert next to my coffee and… a lot of colourful people around me. I sit alone at my table facing the stunning view of the parking. Vividly coloured veils (hijab) are pouring into the mall by 3, by 2, by 5, with kids, no kids with or without a male companion.
Soldiers on patrol are turning the corner. Their step is alert, their faces congested.
I count discretely the number of people seated in the cafeteria: 47. 12 on the secluded right corner with a brightly coloured aspect to it, the rest on the left side of the room. 7 children running happily around. The musicality of their words reach to me. My chocolate cake disappears from my plate with the speed of my thoughts. 92% of the population of Anderlecht is of foreign origins. I remember having read that in the newspaper some 10 years ago when I was myself one of the unwanted inhabitants of the region. I was one one of the immigrants… I still am.
I stand up and grab my board. 62 people. 31 veils.
It feels like I have transcended continental borders in a Swedish shop. The sun is shining high on the parking lot.
Life as we know it. Light and Love.