Living in the Glow
Rarely do we get to live in our dreams. Recently I lived a day that that shamed all other days for believing that they were worth living. Where else could such a night be found, but in Paris?
The day started bitter sweet. It was our last day in Paris before we were to move on to Foggy London Town. We spent the morning, like all others, basking in the glory of our crispy soft croissants and rich espresso in a little cafe off a busy road in Montmartre. We watched the lucky Parisians rush by on their way to work, or class or to meet a lover in a romantic alley nearby. We lathered our last piece of butter with bread as we soaked in the rays of happiness that seemed to be radiating off the bricked sidewalk and set off in search of the Opera House.
I was not ready for the beating of beauty this historic building gave me. Gilded with gold and brimming with the memory of renowned artists from across history, one cannot help but hold your breath and count your lucky stars as you stand, mouth agape, at the mosaics and architecture. As I was walking along a chandelier lit hallway, song burst forth and my music radiated in the perfect acoustics. On that day, I sang in the Grand Opera house.
We slowly made our way to the Seine, needing the comfort of the river. We chatted with the artists that lined the banks and purchased little knick-knacks in the effort to immortalize the joy of the city.
We popped onto the isle to purchase our favorite sandwich – a melted brie and salami panini to split as we listened to the bells of Notre Dame. The gentleman who made our sandwich smiled at us and commented that our french had improved over the past few days, but our smiles were just as lovely. We saluted him with his delicious sandwich and made our way along the cobblestones to keep an appointment.
A few night previous, we were merrily drinking at a bar in Montmartre, when we ran into two lovebirds who were celebrating St. Valentines Day. As I think back on our introduction, my mouth bursts into a smile and I giggle remembering our arguments on revolution, politics and of course, Trump. We drank until the wee hours of the morning learning from each other and I hope, creating what will be a long friendship. The following morning, they invited us out again to a bar in St-Germain, and so, sandwich in hand, that is where we were heading.
We caught up with our gentleman friend, François, at one of his favorite bars, Chai de l’Abbaye for a drink and escargot. Getting to know this man is one of my greatest pleasures. If it weren’t for him, I would not have had one of the best nights of my life.
Going out in American isn’t always unpleasant, but… there it is. There is a reason comedians joke about “girls night out” and dancing in a circle with your friends to weed out men with penises seeking a bullseye. People in American are unapproachable as guards immediately go up and an interesting conversation is the equivalent of the American holy grail. I’ve done the research.
Talking to strangers in Paris was the best part of the trip. They were quick to laugh, to engage, to teach and to share their joys. François has lived an amazing life and has surrounded himself with fantastic people. That night he shared them with us and not only that, he insisted.
We drank and laughed and shared for hours and then it was time for supper. When we hesitated (due to it being our last night and we had a few more scenes to film in our Paris short) he scoffed. “If you want to go, that is up to you, but we can help and the food is delicious.” How can you say no to that?
So into an uber we hopped and up the hill we went. The restaurant is called Cuisine on the rue Condorcet and everyone and everything was lovely! We started off on the street with white wine and oysters, more laughs and introductions. François had invited his lovely girlfriend (with whom we were already acquainted and in love with) and two gentlemen who happened to be an actor and a director and a few more who happened to simply be awesome people. We moved inside for dinner which was exquisite and more wine. We spoke about topics with depth and poetry, laughed and teased each other and navigated the narrow pathway of two languages with giggles.
And then the magic happened.
François informed us that he was a singer. His friend, the director, brought out his camera, someone held up a light, and François started to sing.
We spent the night filming and finishing up our short. His friends became our actors and crew. They happily pitched in as though this was the way of life. I felt like I was one of them and ended the night like the Grinch on Christmas.
My cup runneth over.
Earlier in the evening, François and I were outside the bar, smoking and carrying on, when I admitted that America never quite… fit. That I belong to Paris. Literature and chick-flicks alike indicate that I am not the first emotional genius to reach this conclusion, but there has to be something to it. How can a day like this one exist and not have every living soul desperate to live it? How can I go back to living in gray after those shining days of red? Why should I have to?
François gave me the perfect frenchman smile and said in his silky accent, “My Darling, you have to take Paris home with you.”
And so I do. I miss the bells of ancient cathedrals, I miss the easy smiles and the endless art, I miss tripping on the century old cobblestones. I miss my new friends. But my eyes are open and I have a goal. I’ll bring Paris to me.