28 April 2009

Summer In Paris

I am imagining summer in Paris.  Riding the train from Amsterdam, we end up at a seedy hotel where plaster falls from the ceiling as we enter the sliding glass doors.  We pretend we don't mind the accommodations and imagine we're staying in a fabulous flat with handsome models across the hall.  We eat sandwiches everyday because they come on baguettes and we can order them without asking for translation - we feel more French that way.  So we sit on the Metro eating our sandwiches from paper bags while we wear impractical shoes that gave us countless blisters as we walked from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre; we don't care about the blisters because high fashion is so French.  

We take a day trip to Versailles to escape the city.  I comment that the sky is the most perfect shade of Marie Antoinette blue as we eat ice cream on the Grand Promenade.  We imagine that we are ladies of the court in kitten heals and ball gowns while we discuss the fact that Marie never actually said anything about eating cake.  We imagine times gone by, lives forgotten, palaces never to be lived in again.

You want to visit Chopin's grave because his music is your favorite.  We go to the cemetery and you wished you'd brought a flower for him.  One day you say you'll go to Warsaw and visit his heart.  Later, you play his music on the piano in the hotel lobby and I feel your connection to a man you can never know; he comes to you through your hands as they touch the keys.  I remember wishing I had half your talent as you played that piano and music filtered up through the courtyard.

As savvy as we are, we are swindled by the immigrants on the steps to the Sacre Cure.  They tell me they are raising money for the Church and tell you they are are helping needy children.  I am embarrassed but you, as always, are assertive enough to demand your money back.  Within minutes our laughter overcomes our anger as it always does.

And then of course we climb the Eiffel Tower.  It is a windy day and though we can feel the tower sway, we refuse to take the elevator.  We look out over the many angled roofs of the city and take photos of the Tower's shadow as it darkens the houses below.  You buy postcards and even though they are more expensive you remark that they are even more special because you bought them from so high above the ground.  To end the day we spend all our money eating dinner at the Jules Verne just so we can say we ate at the very top and have romantic dreams about being proposed to there.  We call mom from a pay phone under the North Pier and when she doesn't answer we leave a message about being under the Eiffel Tower that she still saves.

Riding back to Amsterdam on the train we say how wonderful it is to be two sisters in Paris.  Perhaps we will never be two sisters in Paris again, I remember thinking that as the train sped along.  I remember feeling a fleeting moment of grief as Uncle Bruno met us at the train station to take us back to the apartment.  Maybe one day we can meet there again - two sisters in Paris.

1 comment:

  1. I'm learning a prelude by Chopin right now :o)
    and paris is amazing. I'm jealous you got to go to Versailles.



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