On Paris

It feels like the only thing worth writing about anymore. I start other sentences, but they won’t stick. It makes no sense, of course. I speak so much about not understanding why supermarkets keep the hours they do, or why fruit costs a fortune, but not about how living in Paris felt like something I always knew I would do. It felt like an appointment I’d forgotten I’d made, but still kept.

I remember sitting on that couch that breathless Saturday that I only ate one ice-cream and gave you the second one after pulling all the chocolate off; telling you this never felt like a plan we’d stick to. That was true, but I missed some shade of meaning, because it somehow all felt familiar. Like I’d been here before, like I knew the way. I don’t speak about how all I ever did was walk, because that was all I ever wanted to do. It felt like enough. And the way I memorized how to order a baguette, and how breaking it open always hurt my fingers but I never could wait to get home. That every time I got onto the 323 bus, I thought about the routine of it, how I got it every single Sunday at almost the same time, like clockwork. How I always wondered if it was the same driver and what he thought of me, and how I always smiled and greeted him a little more enthusiastically than I would have expected myself to. How one day after class I wandered over bridge after bridge until I realized I was somewhere I’d never been before and it felt so incredibly big. I ate a mandarin while looking at the Seine from an angle I hadn’t seen before, and the sun was actually shining.

And now I’m back home, and it does feel like that, like home, and it’s so beautiful and the sun shines everyday. But it’s confusing. It’s not so much that I miss Paris, more like there’s something missing from who I am now. The French have an expression that means you are missing from me, and maybe that’s what it is.

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