Pilgrimage to Paris (A Trip Revisited)

Paris Lamp Darkness eats away at the lamplight. It's the time of morning when everything should be still. St. Pancras glows orange and looks like a gateway to somewhere warmer and brighter.

I love the Eurostar. I love the way it feels to be moving at that speed on a pre-determined route. But I sleep the whole way because we were up so late packing and then we had to get a midnight bus to London.

We don't have much stuff. I mostly spend the weekend in the same outfit--a bright skirt, a blouse, a pair of sandals, making the most of the August heat--except one time when I think it's going to rain so I don a pair of leather riding boots and then it turns out to be the hottest most glorious day of the whole trip. That is the day we walk to the top of Montmartre and have lunch at a little restaurant whose name I forget. We order salads--with meat, boiled egg, avocado, beetroot--and a carafe of wine and though we've spent most of the day's allotted budget on the meal there is a happiness that comes over us. We finish the wine slowly, watching a girl in a red dress and heels alight from a vespa scooter. I don't remember coming down from Montmarte particularly though I do remember that as we do we pass a painting of a donkey on a wall and also the Lapin Agile, which reminds me of the high school production of Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile I once saw. (It turns out I misremember this because when I go through my photos I discover that the painting is actually of a horse, and there's a man on the horse, riding bareback)

I remember sleeping on the floor of a friend's empty apartment. The mattress is torn and dirty, like something you'd find in a streetside skip. There's a refrigerator in the middle of the room where we put our juice and our cheese. The shower head is collapsing and the bath stained with rust and other unimaginable things and I avoid washing for the whole weekend, making do with splashing my face and scrubbing under my armpits with water from the sink. That's a nice way to be, for a time.

Man on a Horse