Today the air is soft, like air off of the ocean. I awoke from my bizarre and intricate dreams to this chilly, overcast Paris day. Walking onto my terrace with my daily cup of earl grey I laugh to myself thinking about last night. I looked down into my friends apartment across from mine and I had to compliment him on his shirt. It is one most of the world would recognize,
“ I heart NY”
I agree with him. But here is where I laugh. As we chat my eyes unconsciously wander one window over to the usually anti-shirt man, you remember him. He, too, is sporting an “I heart NY” t-shirt! Classic. Just classic.
Finishing my cup of hot tea I suit up and head out to run some errands. Exiting my front door I have 3 choices of where to go. Unfortunately today I must go right, that is where my bank is and also the closest market. As I head north I know what to expect since I pass this almost everyday. Leaning against the light-posts to my left and the 'Paris a Nuit' dress shop to my right there are a dozen Asian women who stand, purse on shoulder, boots mid thigh and eyes out for their next “job”. They stand there so casually and chat with each other like teenagers might in school hallways. Today must be a busy day because I spot only 5. I feel bad for these woman and I can’t help but wonder what has happened in their lives to bring them here, standing on a corner at noon on a Thursday? I pass by and try not to judge. I walk on.
Deciding to accomplish my errands later I head east towards the Seine. Finding a café I sit down and order a pasta. I am enthralled by the passer-bys. But moreso I am enveloped in the knowledge that as they stop to look at the menu the owner speaks to them in English (I am in a tourist part of town at this minute) yet he has not spoken one word of English to me. As I think this, a French couple stops to ask me if I know where the Louvre is. I not only understood this question BUT I know how to answer. Suddenly my pasta bolognaise tastes even better.
After finishing my lunch and about an hour of writing I head towards home. I stop by the bank and say hello to my friendly neighborhood banker Virgine then head to le Monoprix (the local market).
The market is an event, always. The aisles are narrow and the shoppers plentiful. I can hardly get my pully cart through and no one seems to want to move out of my way. The most stressful part begins as I wait in the long lines. The speed of the cashier is welcome as the line moves forward quickly. But when it is my turn I pray she will by slowed by some distraction.
She never has.
I say this because it is at this point that she flings my purchases to her right while I scramble to catch them and toss them in my bag. If, heaven forbid, I have forgotten my own bag the process is even worse. I can never seem to open up the little red plastic bags they provide, sparingly, which slows me down even more. Annoyance is written on her face as she repeats how much I owe. She speaks so fast I never really am sure what she has said so I hand her a 20. Before I can even put my change in my bag she is flinging the next guests items towards mine. I continue to scramble until I have snatched up all of my things. Deep breath and another chaotic checkout is behind me.
10 minutes, 6 flights of stairs with 3 heavy bags and I am home. Tonight is a good night. I heat up my leftover veggies and pasta (with soy sauce and peanut butter) and settle in for a good read. My patio door is cracked so I can feel the cold breeze waft through my home. Just then a little kitten pokes his tiger striped head through to observe what I am doing. He comes right in, no invitation required. This isn’t the first time we have met. He lives in the adjacent apartment with which I have an adjoining terrace, the only thing that separates us is the little black gate with plastic mesh, which I assume, was placed there to keep the kitty on her "side". Luckily it has failed.
We have been curious about each other for a week, that cat and I, since the day I first saw him on the other side of the gate. I got down on my knees and stuck my fingers through the mesh all the while introducing myself in French, I imagine he speaks French, no? This game continued for days until he figured out a way over the mesh lined gate to delight me in my apartment. He looks around, smells things, climbs under my covers and tries to attack my toes. He hides under the bed and playfully chases my feet as I walk by. His simple presence and continuing visits fill me with the kind of joy only an animal companion can. I have aptly decided to call him “Chat”. After all we don’t belong to each other, we are just “two no name slobs” to one another.*** see below
He leaves and I close the door behind him.
Another beautiful day behind me I climb under my covers and rest my eyes eager for the sun to rise again.
***You will understand this
if you know my favorite movie!