Alas! Here I am, en route to gay ole Pair-ee, sitting across from my dear, beautiful, at this moment slightly unkempt (as opposed to my own extremely unkempt self) friend Kayla. I don’t recall the last minute I slept, and my eyelids creep south like they aim to sabotage the sanity of mine that remains at any unguarded moment.
We left Atlanta at 8:45 last night, and it’s now nearly 4:30 p.m. Paris time. Kayla and I have, at this moment, leapt and dragged ourselves and our 30-pound backpacks hurriedly between four different modes of transportation — car, plane, London Underground, now train — and the daunting, dirty, graffitied Paris Metro remains until we reach the hostel.
But we persevere all the more! We’ve kept a sense of humor up, despite the TSA totally doo-dooing over Kayla’s meticulously packed ‘pack and my sorely unfulfilled expectations of in-flight trivia. We broke the dogged silence of the London Underground, for instance, by belting a bellied laugh every time the intercom announced our line’s destination was Cockfosters.
It still gets me. Cockfosters. Call my maturity that of a 15-year-old boy’s, but I deplore you: say to yourself one thing, and in a British accent — Cockfosters.
Anyway, humor aside, there’s too much beauty in every crevice of this journey thus far to spend it resting, despite the fact that we’ve barely seen or breathed in the day. This train and all the whizzing greens and yellows and grays of the country it belies flood my mind with memories of the last time I found myself here.
They’re great ones, indeed. But in many ways I’m flushing them, too, storing them into more compact illusions. Making room for what is to come. And understanding, all the while, the breathtaking speed at which it’ll all transpire.
And now, at 6:10 p.m. Paris time, we’re settled into our hostel room. We met the city with a man asking me something in French (Victory! I fit in!) and two French people frenching each other on the Metro. C’est bon, c’est bon.