If I lean out far enough off this balcony near the Champs-Élysées, I can see the Arc de Triomphe. It does not inspire a sensation of victory, though. Its carved limestone excess leaves me cold.
Across the street is a cafe where I can sit comfortably for hours, undisturbed by paparazzi. I take mild pleasure in this, until the waitstaff cast a Gallic eye upon me, a hint to be gone.
The streets feel like they do anywhere else in Europe, the signs are as cryptic as the people, though gutters are swept clean. Nowhere else will possess the same golden afternoon light, or a similar blend of fresh bread and bitter espresso in the morning.
A change of venue should have freed me to write as it has in the past. Paris’ scenery has inspired countless artists over a thousand years. But I struggle to do more than play my old standards, pulling them reluctantly from my guitar. No new words or notes emerge from my fingertips. I haven’t been able to write for months now.
Nights are worse. Roaming anonymously in the dark through the crowds in the Latin Quarter, lost at the base of Mont Michel, or watching the bateaux mouche slip by along the moonlit Seine, I am as blank as the empty linens flung back on my bed.
On the way to the theatre where I am booked, I find street art. I can make out the artists’ intent with my meager French. Praise here, a complaint there, and the acerbic commentary sketched in spray paint where the police were not some night past.
And there, scrawled in Parisian hand, worn by traffic,
Pour atteindre la lune,Words are missing or distorted, and my interpretation of the remainder is weak at best. Some snippet from a Greek or French philosopher, I cannot say. Revelation lies in these broken bits like shards among an archaeological dig. Discovery dawns, blinding, as I reach for a pen and paper, and then my guitar.
il faut viser le soleil dans le nuit
mais "le soleil ni la lune ne peuvent se regarder en face."
Voila l'eclipse amoureuse.
The truth I found in ParisIf only I could sing to you tonight, ma chère. I will settle for tomorrow, before my flight aims home to you.
You are my sun and moon.
You are my bliss.
Without you, I am in shadow.
A life in eclipse
Without you, I am hollow
It’s this I couldn’t face.
This truth I found in Paris
It’s you I miss.
Copyright 2014 Femme Malheureuse
AngstPlay FlashFic - Prompt 02-AUG-2014
Graphic: Unknown, via AngstPlay