basking in your beauty
The air was heavy with smells. Smells of a humid rain, of firewood, of womens perfume, of candy and baked bread. Everyone walked down the street looking overwhelmed by the change in the air.
Sunday took me through le Jardin des Tuleries, filled with people basking around the fountain, unphased by the dribbling rain, and happy to be rid of their winter jackets.
A group of policemen smiled at me as I tossed my jacket into my arms, and gladly showed some skin for the first time in months.
Soon I found myself sprawled out on the cobblestones that surround Georges Pompidou centre, the sun falling on my face, as I closed my eyes and listened to the cheers of the crowd watching a magician across the way. Soon a group of Asian men in exotic blue costumes were playing hypnotic music, and I found a sense of calm as their sound overcame everything else.
I walked the streets of Les Marais, of the Jewish district, where I pushed through the crowds of happy Falafel eaters and old Jewish men with long white beards.
I took the metro to Montmartre, where my young Turkish friend Yeliz awaited me with impatience, and took her up to the Sacre Coeur. We raced up the endless steps to the top, and wandered around the square of portrait artists and creperies. At one restaurant she stopped to talk to a man dressed completely in blue: blue velvet suit, blue scarf, blue retro sunglasses, and stunning white hair. "Is that your maman?" He asked Yeliz. "She's cute."
He looked like a character out of a James Bond film. Yeliz later told me he's the owner of a large cabaret in Montmartre, and has been wearing only blue since his wife died a few years ago.
After dinner at the family's restaurant, Yeliz and her brothers walked me to my metro. "This is the Bronx of Paris," laughed one brother, as we headed down the dirty streets of Montmartre, sleazy men calling out to me. One brother walked in front of me, and the other behind me, "We're your body guards. This is how we do it in Turkey." Yeliz stuck close to me and held my arm. Walking over the train tracks of the Gare du Nord, the sun set in a mass of colours. I could hardly grasp how good I felt.
I took the metro alone to the Latin Quarter, and since the night was too young and warm to go home just yet, I continued to wander.
It's been a long time since I've seen so many people sit outside of the cafes. The streets screamed life, and lovers grabbed each other along the Seine.
Walking towards the metro to go home, a large man in a suit standing outside a Greek restaurant stopped me.
"Mademoiselle, you want to break a plate?" He asked, his voice very serious.
"Yes." I said, without hesitation.
He handed me a small white plate, and said: "Smash it on this step."
I was so excited that half way through my throw it slipped out of my hands and broke in two in the middle of the street.
"Give me another chance!" I said, and ran to pick up a large chunk left of the plate before returning to the step. "And aren't I supposed to scream Oopa?!"
"Yes, you can," replied my Greek Godfather.
And so I screamed, threw it on the step, and realized my plate-smashing dream. "I just needed some practice," I smiled, and took off happily down the street.
This week I had felt myself sinking into the cold grey sky, not wanting to face the wet sidewalks outside.
It turns out all I needed was a little warmth.