The weather is chilly, under 0 Celsius degrees, colorful leaves and grass outlined with white fuzzy frost. The car is cold but I don’t mind.
The ground is crisp but our shovels cut through it as warm knife goes through, the acacia trees easily slipped into the dark holes as we planted them in their new homes. I planted about a hundred in my straight line but decided to give it a rest. My period arrived overnight but I didn’t feel it affect me until I got to the end. Once I stopped I couldn’t start it over. The momentum that kept me going was gone.
So now I’m sitting in the cold truck, my toes are freezing. I had to take an ibuprofen. I fell asleep and woke up with a nostalgic longing for Paris. If I had a day to spend Paris…. Sometimes when the weather is gloomy my memories of past events flood in so strongly.
I have been there once for a week in 2017. It was before the Norte Dame burned down. I travelled with my ex-fiancé’s rugby team to take photos of them while playing. We went sightseeing one day but nobody wanted to see the Notre Dame from the inside apart from me so they told me they would just leave and wouldn’t even bother to come back to pick me up. “Solve it on your own then.” So I didn’t go in. I still regret choosing fear over love, following men instead of my own will.
The second time I visited the city of lights was a day trip when we dropped off 2 of our colleagues.
It seems like everyday I’m missing something different. I can’t even tell what I miss in Paris. Maybe it’s only the things I used to do… If I wouldn’t be planting trees I could be sitting in a café by the Seine, wearing thick thighs, my Harley boots with a chunky knit sweater and a floral hippie midi dress under it. And my purple James Dean coat over it with my favorite knit hat I made myself. It has a rabbit fur pom on the top that was made by my grandpa. I love it but have very mixed feelings about it (being vegetarian and all). I would drink my almond milk melange to my hearts content while I doodle in my notebook and jealously watch other people enjoying their baguette or Eclere. Let them eat cake, I can’t. I see myself in the charming Place Contrescarpe, just around the corner from the small apartment where the great Hemingway once lived. I wonder what he’d say to me if we’d ever met…
Strange how I suddenly long for a life I used to live but in a city I only visited. I imagine myself as someone otherworldly beautiful. Someone who can only exist in movies. Perfect. Harmonious. Content.
If I had day on my own in Paris… The beginning of winter when the air is crisp and skies are grey. What would I do?
I’d do all my favourite things.
I’d take the metro in an ungodly time, when there’s less crowd to avoid panic attack. I’d exit at St. Paul where I’d reach the top of the stairs the first thing I’d see is the little carousel. You must know it if you saw the Le fabuleu destine de Amelie Pouline. (check spelling) I’d walk down a narrow cobblestone alley. I’ll buy a collection of 4 small macarons. I like to buy then from a different patisserie every time.
I’d walk through the Tuileries on my way to an art museum like Musée Rodin. Which is a gem, both the indoors and outdoors gallery is worth visiting. After I’d visit Shakespeare and company on the Left Bank. I’d buy a book or five. Hopefully a rare Steinbeck.
If I’d be alone I’d take my time to walk through Pére Lachaise. I never had the chance to visit the cemetery when I was with others. Cemetery walks are such a cure for my soul, I visit them whenever I have the chance and wonder about the curious lives of others who walked this Earth decades or even centuries before me. I’d visit my great friend Oscar Wilde and blew a kiss to Jim Morrison. I wish I still had my bell jeans.
I’d walk around the city with my camera looking for beautiful lights, mesmerising faces, ornate architecture, reflections and vivid colors. I love to take a picture of everything that captured my eyes but others would bearly notice – hidden stone gargoyles or centuries old paint peeking through from under the peeled off layers.
A beautiful stranger on a bench, a lady in violet, a dog with half a blue eye, a heart shaped oil stain, red lip print on a white collar…
One day, one day I will go on my own and do all the things. But for now I’m waiting here. Waiting for you. And it’s cold.