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“Un rien”, unpublished short story by Nathacha Appanah

FIVE WRITERS COUNTING FRANCE TODAY (4/5) – In a prefabricated house; three sentinels deliver a questionnaire to applicants. “In a word; what do you think of France?” We ask them. Their responses: “a baguette”; “a croissant” or … “nothing”. Who will be awarded the precious sesame?

Perhaps while he was sleeping; in that dream he was standing in front of an open window; his face offered towards an endless yellow plain; his skin smooth with all the fear and expectation; the light slowly infusing his entire body; perhaps during that dream. . something had moved in him? When he woke up; he had the feeling of having broader shoulders; a more muscular chest; a slack neck. Instead of the usual knot in the stomach; a soft bubble. He allowed himself two deep breaths during which he thought he had rediscovered what that smell is; a mixture of warm sheets and his own sweat; oh yes; the smell of sleep.

“Stupid”; He said aloud; straightening abruptly. He was not stupid or sentimental yet; he knew how dreams devour body and mind; he had not forgotten that we were the first of the year and that; on this day; even the hardest hearts began to believe in the return. of childhood and good weather. He grabbed his sleeping bag and sent it flying over the opposite wall. He fell softly; silently and that bothered him a little more because there; right away; he needed a crash; something irreversible. He grabbed the glass from his nightstand; but the morning bell rang at that very moment in the Sentinel Quarter; and suddenly his anger subsided. In his body; his mind; under his skin; the day tojournaltimee was unfolding; precise; metallic; relentless. He put down the glass obediently.

“Un rien”, unpublished short story by Nathacha Appanah
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