Vincent Prenner

A Reflection of Europe

Heavy clouds are covering the region of Brussels on September 25th 2019. After a long and dreary day, the majority of Brussels population is about to leave their offices, factories, classes, shops or cars. Some others are making themselves ready for a cold and boring nightshift, hoping for something extraordinary to happen this night. Cars are honking, buses breaking, ambulances rushing, pupils running across red lights and cyclists illegally overtaking. A girl on Rue Joseph Stevens seems exceptionally hurrying downwards. Where might she be heading? Considering her appearance she must be around 22 or 23 years old and as she was carrying a tiny rucksack with the corner of her laptop pointing trough the zipper, she is very likely to be a student. The cold wind rushes trough her hair when she reached the vast Place Emile Van de Velde. She stood still for a couple of seconds, pulling out her phone and reading an illegible short message. It was obvious that she is not familiar with this part of the city. She might be a foreign student making an exchange semester in Brussels. Her eyes made a quick swivel around the square before focussing on the huge electronic panel capping the Europe Building. She must be reading the following: „Population of Brussels living in good health: 75,1 %; Population of Brussels having severe alcohol issues: 18,9%“. Bad health is therefore mostly due to the excessive consumption of alcohol. This fact must be astonishing her, as she opened her eyes widely and giggled. On the bottom right of the panel you can read the Timetable for the foreign language courses. French A1: 5:30 pm, 3. floor, room C10, French A2: 5:45 pm, 3. floor, room C9. She took a look at her watch, saying that it was 5:38pm. Maybe she was heading to the french class at 5:45pm. She continued reading across the board. „Foreign students in Brussels today: 14,698. Total population of Brussels today : 1,191,604.“
Full of resolution she suddenly walked towards the inviting entrance with fast pace. A large digital panel on her left hand side was saying library 4. floor. She followed the signs leading her up an unusually large ramp, past a group of formally dressed businessmen, up a long and hight stairwell, until reaching the top floor where she turned left, facing the entrance of the library. The clock said that it was 5:42 pm and the classroom for her probable french lesson was on the other side of the building. She slowly breathed in and out, as if she would need to calm herself down. One could only guess why she was so nervous. She opened the door to the library, walked by the counter, where the library lady was friendly welcoming her. The girl didn’t seem to care as she didn’t react at all. She rushed by the stairs and started checking the numbers displayed on the multiple bookshelves. 60,5 - 62, 62,5 - 64, There it was! 64,5 - 66. She rushed towards it and entered the row. There he was waiting for her. A large smile came over her face, before he grabbed her and tenderly kissed her. The unobserved couple remains like this for an eternity in between public shelves.