Yep. We did it. We hit CONFIRM on our purchase, packed our bags and four days later we were in Paris.
This is why you save, people.
So you can pull off these kinds of shenanigans on occasion.
We missed our friends, we wanted to support them, and we just plain ol’ missed Paris.
The flight was uneventful except for me bawling my head off during the movie Inside Out. Someone should warn you about the tender beauty of this film. I was glad I watched it with the lights off. I was a MESS. We’re talking Steel Magnolias kind of mess.
First, right off the train, we ran into the lady who did all the paperwork for our wedding. Second, we ran into a handful of Christophe’s old clients. And this was while we were walking with our suitcases to our apartment. Once we dropped them off, we skipped down to rue Mouffetard where Christophe shook hands with people up and down the street as if he was the mayor.
It was all rather surreal.
Because we’ve been gone but it was as if we were just returning from a vacation. Everyone was still there. Everyone looked the same. Mostly. There was one guy who aged startlingly quickly. The last time I saw him he was zigzagging down the street in that zone after drunk and before passed out. He’d quit drinking, and by the colour of his whiskers, I realized it was a challenge. The fish monger also aged, which you do when you’re a fish monger because that’s the hardest job on the street. But everything else was the same.
Except of course for the security people. More of those.
Army trucks filled with soldiers drove by, the gendarmerie sauntered up and down streets in groups of three, security guards stood outside the Métro and outside of many shops looking in bags and asking you to open your jacket.
So that was new. Yet understandable.
My mother was displeased with our spontaneous trip. Also understandable. But we figured Paris was likely safer now than it’s ever been and if something happened, well, that’s the end of this particular story. As they say in France, C’est la vie.
We met friends for drinks and dinners and cocktail parties. They all told their story of that night. As I listened I knew why I was there. I was there to help them offload some trauma. When something happens to us and we replay it in our mind over and over, that’s trauma, and one of the best ways to pull it out of your psyche is to talk about it.
So I sat and listened. Then we got on to other subjects, then we veered back. Then off again. Then on again. And that’s how it goes until you forget to talk about it.
People are going about their business but they are on edge.
A woman saw a mouse on the street and screamed. Everyone turned. Realizing it was just a mouse, everyone turned back to her and scoffed. You don’t get to scream about that right now. An argument at the airport had entire gates of people turning to see if it was really just an argument or something more. You don’t get to argue in public right now. It’s too soon. Everyone has to be kind. Everyone has to be on alert. Even on the Métro, the mecca of phone gazing, more people kept their phones in their pockets and looked around at each other. Suspiciously. Even as I sat there on the Métro I wondered how they would do it. The next time. Speaking of, I ran into Monique, who *may* have been a spy during the war. She’s a complete mess. “It’s just the beginning. It’s just the beginning.” she muttered, and handed me a printout of an article about just that. She had a whole bag of printouts.
The pigeons are still cruising for crumbs. The guys at my copy place are still making copies. And my postal gang are still handing out stamps one at a time.
Same same yet different.