"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Thursday, May 25, 2017

17 Years

I am on a train, and as we started to move, I just burst into tears. I might be a little dramatic. But, I waited 17 years to get back here.

Paris. I am headed to Paris. Almost 17 years to the day, I am on a train, headed straight to my favorite place in the world, a place that means so much to me. There just hasn’t been an opportunity; life and work have gotten in the way, the time hasn’t been right, the finances haven’t been right, the list goes on. All the while, I have dreamed and wished and hoped. I honestly gave up on ever coming back.
Then, I had to come to London for work, and being two hours away from Paris, there was no way I was going to let the chance pass me by. So, voila! My work is done, and I am headed for a short stay in Paris.

When I went to Paris 17 years ago, it was on a lark, more of a last minute trip, not planned or obsessed over. I had to take vacation time I was going to lose, and I had a lot of hotel and airline points, and could do it for free, so I thought, why not Paris?

But, upon arrival, something so unexpected happened. I felt a connection to the city like nothing I had ever experienced before. Like I was “of” this place, like I had past lives here, or at the very least, my ancestors had walked here. I felt the very being of me had started here. I felt I had found home, something I have been endlessly searching for. I still can’t quite explain the connection I felt to Paris, but that feeling never left me, and the need to get back was like an aching chasm. 

Later that same year, I went back at Christmastime, and I thought surely the spell would be broken, that maybe I was just so vacation-starved that Paris had cast a temporary spell that spring, but the feeling was even stronger. As I did the first time, as I left for the airport to go home, I wept in the cab the entire way.

There are other places that I love, other cities that are special to me, San Francisco in particular, that have a part of my heart. But there is something different and deeper about Paris. There always will be.

So, now, I am headed back, and I don’t have to ask if the spell is still there, the tears in my eyes tell me it is. Paris is waiting for me, and I am going home, even just for a few days. I cannot wait. I will wander, eat bread and cheese and pastries and not count a calorie once. I will walk through museums that make me remember why I loved every art class I ever took, and that I have tried to learn and absorb everything I can about the artists behind the huge canvases on the walls. I will stand in awe over works that are ancient that I have seen many times, but still feel like I am seeing them for the first time.

I will not plan too much, and get lost and end up finding amazing shops and restaurants, as I have both times when I visited before. I will still be a tourist and do a few touristy things. I will see the Eiffel tower. I will go back to my favorite little places I remembered in my dreams over the years.
I didn’t realize it had been seventeen years until I counted a few nights ago, and it made me sad. I had always kept Paris kept closer in my mind. I couldn’t imagine it had been so long. But now, I am going. Next week, I can say, I was just in Paris, last week. And in about two hours, I can say, I am in Paris, right now. 

Right now. 

What a wonderful thing.



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