I have only one memory of Doulaye Danioko. I must have been around 5-years-old, probably in 1971 or 72. We were at my parents' at Châteauroux in the center of France. Doulaye was sitting in an armchair and I suppose he was talking with my father. But I only remember Doulaye and me: I'm sitting in his lap, I raise my arm and stroke his face with my hand. I love playing with Doulaye's face, his ears, lips, above all, his nose which seems enormous and so mysterious, flat the way it is. What I love most is his skin, smell and colour.
My father had told me that one day Doulaye had killed a lion when hunting. I'd always imagined that it was with a spear. The image of Doulaye, killing the lion with a throw of the spear, had left a big impression on me. I was proud of knowing him, being his friend. I dreamed that maybe one day Doulaye would take me hunting with him.
When I was eight, Doulaye left for Oran in Algeria. He and my father regularly wrote to each other and two years later, in 76, Doulaye told him that he was returning to Mali. But he never wrote from Mali to say that he'd arrived safely.
Last year, I realized twenty years had passed since Doulaye's departure, and for years now, I'd been waiting for him to reappear…