The stairs

French version : L’escalier

It was a staircase. A simple staircase. Then why was it so special? Probably because hundreds of people came through here. Many lives had been lived there. A lot of people had just passed by, just for a second, before going to work. In all the time this building had been around, there must have been hundreds. Thousands, maybe. Who can tell? Whole families had probably lived there. The children would come down those stairs every time they went to school, or maybe when they went to meet their friends, to get bread or to shop for their mother. Their little feet probably echoed down the stairwell, filling this dreary, sad place with life, which was in great need of it. For what happened to the stairs when no one was getting upstairs because of them? Well, it’s simple, nobody went up, it was a deserted and totally abandoned place, a bit like it is today. An empty staircase. Empty of sound, empty of the laughter of the children going to meet their little friends in the courtyard at the bottom of the stairs. And these steps, so often cleaned to be dirtied again immediately afterwards when the children went back home, their shoes full of mud because they had played in the muddy puddles. But that was all in the past. 

The children hadn’t been running up the stairs for a long time. The place was empty, terribly empty. This staircase had seen children grow over time. First he had heard the cries of a newborn baby. Then the sound of his mother’s footsteps trying to calm him down before he began to disturb the neighbors.The father who was leaving for work and who at that time still had all his hair. Afterwards, he had seen a toddler venturing near him, intrigued by this strange construction going down composed of different levels. But the parents had prevented the child from coming too close, for fear that he would upset his balance and fall. For he hadn’t been able to walk for a very long time, and he was still twitching a little on his little legs. The stairs had been sad, it would have liked to see the child more closely, this little human being. Later he had felt the little steps of the child on him. He was stable enough on his legs that the parents let him go down the stairs. But he was always accompanied by one of his parents. Because they didn’t want him to hurt himself if he fell. So they would come with him, take him to the bottom of the stairs and leave him with his friends. Then they would go back up and pick him up again after an hour or two. 

Later, the stairs had seen the little boy come down the stairs by himself. He was growing up fast. Every morning he would leave. Probably to school. The stairs had heard his mother talking to her neighbour on the landing about her anxieties about her son’s first day at school. The staircase didn’t know what it was all about, but it must have helped the boy grow up, because he was reaching the banister now. He was going down and up with much more ease. Then time passed so quickly that the staircase hardly saw him grow up. Now he was a handsome young man. He hadn’t been back for years. The staircase had not understood what had happened. Overnight, the boy had stopped climbing the stairs to get to his house. And he had come back years later. He was a man now. And then he moved in in his parents’ apartment, who had died in the meantime. And children had started running up the stairs again. But that was a long time ago. Now the stairs were empty and probably always would be: the building was going to be demolished. The stairs would never again hear the footsteps of the children. Never again. He wouldn’t have a family to watch anymore. 
Never again. It was all over. It was over forever. He’d be demolished. 

Other English texts

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