I remember his face. I was on the Boulevard St Michel on a student demonstration. A posh-looking man sitting in a restaurant near the window looked up at the protestors and sneered. I'd seen that look before. I'd been studying in Paris for a few months by then. I'd seen it on the faces of the cops who had beaten me up in the metro and those who stopped and questioned me almost daily, or the landlords whose available flats disappeared when I showed up. It was a look that told me I didn't matter and couldn't do a thing about it.
On the Boulevard St Michel a young black kid also saw the sneer, walked coolly up to the window, and kicked it in. And between the shards, the face of the man at the table contorted in fear as the thin film that separated him from chaos collapsed. The kid walked off laughing.
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