Sometimes that Parisian moment can last a matter of hours, a day, several months, a year, a few years, a decade…more…a lifetime or beyond.
What makes Paris so special? I think it is the moments that are spent here, that go fleeting by, and we try so desperately to grasp them and make them last longer then they do. We bask in this beautiful place, feeling like kings for a day, a month, a year, or more, and think to ourselves…how did we get so lucky?
My good friend Frank has come every year to Paris for the past four years, and his dream is to live here. He regrets so much having to leave every time, and I see the sadness set in on his lovely face every year, the night before he has to leave. He sits back with a brooding look on his face, biting his fingernails and ceases the constant stream of cheerful chatter for a bit while he wallows in his thoughts of despair at having to leave Paris. He puts off repacking his suitcase until the very last minute, he doesn’t even bother to check his flight time or flight number until ABSOLUTELY necessary. It’s a denial of the inevitable. His entire being wants to stay here. His soul is Parisian. I know he will someday make it here for good, especially if I have anything to do with it! But one thing that happens every Summer he visits me, is that I am showered with his incredible sense of passion and enthusiasm for this beautiful city, and country. Four years ago when we met, it only took 30 seconds for me to fall under his exuberant charm. We were friends instantly. Perhaps because I saw in him that person I must have been ten years ago, when I first arrived here as a student. Every Summer he offers me a renewed and romantic vision on this city and a reminder of how lucky I am to live here. He helps me remember the reasons why I decided to stay and reminds me how wonderful it feels to find a place where I truly belong. Frank knows this very feeling.
We spent his last evening here at the Péniche Six Huit, where we ate and drank simple things, nothing fancy, in the family run establishment just below Notre Dame, on the rive Seine. Lauren Cashwell (who has the very same passion for Paris) joined us, and as usual came packing her trusty camera, and proceeded to discretely record one of these simple Parisian moments that make up the life we live here. The moon was a big juicy golden globe hanging low in the velvet Paris sky, and Notre Dame loomed above us this ancient relic that has withstood it all, watching over us and this city like a mindful parent. Always there, constant and reliable, unchanging (event though it has changed ever so slightly over the past one thousand years). Perhaps this is one of the things that draws us here…this aspect of constancy. We find ourselves returning to a moment in time, in our souls where we feel whole and almost perfect. We feel at home.