The Sirens of Paris

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 30, 2017

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Submitted: March 30, 2017



While drinking a coffee at my friend’s house, Taher, I realised how his wife Caterine is looking at me with red eyes that I’ve never seen before, as if they reflect a fire in her guts; then, she talks in a hurtful tone of voice:

“Mohamed, do you spend the night at the mosque?”

I replied “No, why should I do so! I pray at home most of the time.”

“But… Taher,” she pauses and looks at her husband who shrinks on the sofa as he feels something wrong, “Taher used to say that he was spending the night there, but I found out that he was fooling me, he is cheating on me, spending the night with another woman.”

Her words strike me like a lightning bolt with full force shaking all my temples. I’m speechless. How the hell is it possible for Taher to cheat on this beautiful woman? What is this madness? How come this lovely couple whom all our acquaintances envy faces such a problem just after one year of marriage, a marriage that could be only described as a romantic story par excellence.

Taher and Caterine knew each other here in Paris, they were both students. Charming Caterine fell in love with Taher, the immigrant; she was mesmerised by this young ambitious man from Algeria, a thin brown man with green eyes, just like an Andalusian. Taher is open to the mundane aspects of life, a self-made, a blood brother of Sisyphus who suffered a lot in Paris but now he is living his dream thanks to his hard work. In fact, I knew Taher in the University too; he used to give firing sermons protesting against the Danish controversial cartoon that depicted the prophet. In a word, Taher is a zealot and that what makes me admire him and forge a powerful bond. But, my admiration is shaken now indeed by what I heard from Caterine. Caterine is a guardian angel, she helped Taher a lot, she contributed in his success; but all what I can see now is an angel dying of this terrible wound.

I know that Taher was always encouraging Caterine to read on Islam and that she wanted to convert. But now what? Taher turned out to be a liar, he is cheating on his wife, dishonoring himself, and that’s the disaster; Caterine won’t respect him anymore because he himself disrespects his principles and religion. I can see that in her eyes, everything she loved before is now like a falling edifice. She looks at Taher again who was still sitting with sangfroid, keeping silent and frozen like a statue:

“Why you cheated on me? Is that what you’ve told me before about sincerity and love? I never believed that my devout husband may lie and cheat one day.”

I felt like I am in the middle of a play, I can’t believe what I am hearing. I don’t know if I really one day knew that man sitting in front of me, all what I knew was a mirage. Taher turned out to be just like some other immigrants here who betray their culture and principles, those who couldn’t resist the temptation of a Parisian siren song. Paradoxically enough, many Algerians here drink alcohol but when it comes to eating meat, they asked: “Is it Halal?[1]” Boys and girls like my neighbors prefer to be called Zizou instead of Zinedinne, Fati instead of Fatima, all because it sounds more French. They are all nothing but bastards, not because they don’t know they parents but because they don’t know their origins and history, they don’t know about Lala Fatima Nsoumer and Fatima the prophet’s daughter whom they distorted their names. It seems that even my friend Taher is like those bastards too, because he disrespect his own principles.

I make a monumental effort to get up as my feet are betraying me intending to escape from this scandalous play, I addressed Taher giving him a look of great disapproval, a look that pierces him through:

“Shame on you Taher.”

Indeed, I used to hear that Paris is the city of angels and demons, but never thought I’ll find an angel living with a demon under one roof, Taher and Caterine.


[1] Any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law.

© Copyright 2018 Mohamed Senoussi. All rights reserved.

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