Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Stories from the Chair: My One-legged Lover in Paris – Part Three

I won’t get into listing the thousand things I saw and did that second day in Paris.  Mostly because I just don’t remember shit anymore, it seems.  If only I could find that elusive journal. 

Here are a few of the things I’ve managed to retain, just in case you really want to know:

I learned that Notre Dame sits on a tiny island in the middle of the Seine, called Île Saint-Louis. 

I learned that the French eat very bizarre things, like brains, pancreas and blood sausage, and are known to drink wine with every meal, including breakfast!

I learned how cozy it felt to walk those ancient streets, winding and narrow, with dwellings and shops very close to the traffic, the sidewalks no wider than like a foot or so.

I spent hours among the many little Les Bouquinestes (book stalls) lining both banks of the Seine.  And yes, I had to look up that spelling.  You bet. 

I wandered spellbound through the Louvre in such awestruck wonder; my jaw was practically dragging across the polished marble floors.

And yes, I do remember the Mona Lisa.

I also remember that language was a real barrier.  I was picking up a few words here and there, but the French were often not eager to pander to my need for the use of English.  I got the feeling that as an American, I wasn’t well liked.  This was probably due to the many groupings of loud, stupid, rude and demanding American tourists who had preceded me, the likes of which I had witnessed myself in great embarrassment.     

Finally, fatigued and aching, twilight found me at that same outdoor café I had been to the day before.  Only this time, I sat at a tiny table inside, and while drinking my café au lait, I must have put my head down on the table for just a quick rest, because the next thing I knew, I was awakened by laughter coming from the next table over.

“She’s drooling!” a man shouted.

“Passed out drunk?” said a young girl.

I jerked up straight in my chair and this group of people, all laughing and staring, exploded into applause.

I ended up joining them that night, after finally convincing them I wasn’t drunk, just really tired.  There were four guys, all from other countries, and one lone American girl, who I learned was just seventeen years old.  They were students at the Sorbonne, and spoke fluently in English. 

“Lang,” who was from China and spoke fluent English, folded me into their group with such gusto, that two hours later, they walked me to my “upscale” hotel, helped me gather my things, got me checked out, and in no time I was checked in at a decidedly “un” upscale place, but one where Lang worked part-time as a manager, and where the rest of them had rooms.

Quaint and shoddy, I thought my new home was fantastic.  Even the part where you had to share a bathroom down the hall.

Because these five young people felt so right to me. 

Because they felt safe.

And although these five young people would become my soul mates for the rest of my days in Paris, it turns out that even they could not, as no one ever could, protect me from myself.

I then fell fully clothed on top of old and tattered bed covers and slept for the next twenty-six hours.

Stay Tuned for Part Four

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April 10, 2012 - Posted by | Foreign Travel | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Ok, Jill, I need to find out about the one legged lover! Please tell us!

    Comment by Linda Wines Stokes | April 10, 2012 | Reply


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