French version : By night
Not a sound. No one at the horizon. A perfect time for a little late-night stroll around town. That feeling of freedom being outside at a time when no one’s out. At a time when everyone’s asleep. Everyone? Well, maybe not everyone. Only a privileged few have the honor of contemplating this limitless realm that is the night. A city at night is nothing like a city by day. This difference varies from city to city, but in general, the feeling of being at the centre of the world, of being able to live life to the fullest, that guilty joy of being outside while others sleep is common.
Those stairs where the children played so much. Those old stairs that have been damaged by time. They look completely different at night. They regain their youth, their beauty of yesteryear. Because at night, all cats are grey. That goes for many other things too.
The street lamps are lit at night. They are the only visible source of light. If you don’t count the possible small lights coming from apartments or houses that are not yet asleep at this hour. The houses are now unattractive, unsightly and almost frightening masses. By day, they are at the cutting edge of fashion. By night they are gloomy. Night makes them dark and silent, as if they were abandoned. But they are not, because they are full of life during the day. The few passers-by hurry home, for although the walk is pleasant, it is better not to be too long. You never know. Although the night has never (you never know) eaten anyone yet, it is better to avoid staying too much outside after sunset.
But those who return home cannot enjoy the peace and quiet of places deserted by humans. In the houses, the eyes are closed and will only reopen the next morning. What a pity to have missed the world of the night!
The footsteps on the cobblestones have stopped, the running on the stairs and the laughter of the children too. Everything is quiet now. The cars are getting scarcer. The gravel is resting after screaming under the feet of passers-by all day long. The lampposts are back in service, they who used to sleep soundly during the day. One drop falls from the sky, then two, then three. Little by little, the ground gets wet. Eventually the rain comes down and a thousand drops splash the sleeping world. Their fall can be heard and resounds in the comfortable silence created by the darkness. All the little noises come out even more in the darkness.
The rain redoubles, quickly giving way to the storm. In the houses, everyone curls up under their duvet, happy not to be out there in the pouring rain.