Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paris Nocturne

"I have two loves: going to Paris and Paris." --Josephine Baker

Eyes open in the middle of the night, staring at the blurry image of the moon through the window. A sudden desire for walking along wide boulevards, exploring the Louvre, and taking hours to eat dinner grips me. Memories of sitting in a park sketching, the posh neighborhoods around the Arc de Triomphe, the winding medieval streets around the Paris Opéra, the not-so-posh outer arrondissements, eating pain au chocolate in the morning and being trapped in a McDonald's in the afternoon; drinking wine because it's cheaper than water, walking along the river at night amidst pink streetlights and embracing lovers. I could see the Louvre again, the Jacquemart-André along Boulevard Haussman, and the Musée d'Orsay. I could rummage through the mysterious book stores full of non-romance novels, finally settling on a French translation of Agatha Christie because I'm desperate. Perhaps while using my now-very-rusty French to ask for a good restaurant, I'll meet a man open to a flirtation... or several.

If I got up now, at 4 AM, and packed my bag, I could be there in 15 hours, possibly. Do I have the money for a plane ticket? A hotel room? Can I take the time off?

No. I close my eyes, trying to ignore the moonlight and the wanderlust and voice in my head telling me to go. It's not wanderlust so much as a desire for a single place, for the only city I've ever loved. A desire mostly put to rest, except apparently for unusual waking moments at 4 AM.

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