A Short Stop in Paris: Part 1 of 4`

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There is a district north of the old, romantic Paris you know from postcards and movies. Neon lights fronting two story sex-show theatres, pornography shops and dingy bars light up Boulevard de Sebastopol. Subway trains having sprung from the ground line the street inside a corrugated metal tunnel a few meters overheard. A thick mess of people mill below all the bright colors. Some move quickly, spitting out between long lines of parked cars. Men yell to girls passing by and dine together at small sandwich shops.

Further north the street changes to Boulevard de Strasbourg. The metro above disappears. The fluorescent blaze softens to a familiar warm glow of fine dining and cafes. Then standing in the middle of the road, the giant main station, with its big clock and smooth new façade, splits traffic West and East.

The windows were down. I was singing along, sitting upright and tapping the steering wheel. From the left of two turning lanes I rolled right with the traffic. Coming out of the bend Desiree’s little hands suddenly jumped up to hide her face. Through the rock music and my own voice I heared a faint crunch and felt the slightest of a nudge.

“Shiza!” I said.

Desiree hung her head out the window for a look. Pulling over, I saw the damage scroll by in the mirror beside her. A blue station wagon’s front bumper wilted from the car. Fluid dripped onto the dry, sparkling pavement.

“Is there any damage?” I asked.

She searched and said nothing. I double parked in front of a fine restaurant where beyond large open windows and along the sidewalk, couples dined from petite dishes and drank from wine glasses. Jumping out to have a look, rounding in front to postpone confrontation, my eyes went from curious people sitting at cloth covered tables to the side of my white van. Besides a thin layer of dust acquired driving round Europe and a discolored shadow where 1980’s style decals were removed, there was nothing to be seen. He must have hit my wheel, I think, then noticing the mighty construction of my steel rims. Looking back I saw two dark-skinned, button-shirted men inspecting the damage to their small, sad car and with their pants blinking on and off from our two sets of yellow lights, my mind went for a moment to the wild street that led me back there to the Paris I knew.

2 Thoughts on “A Short Stop in Paris: Part 1 of 4`”

  1. UT Says:

    How’s your neck and back?

  2. Jackie Says:

    Vetter! (I looked that up… haha) I just want to tell you that I have been spreading your website around, and that everyone who had looked into it has been impressed with your journey…including me:). I’m happy to see that you will be home for the holidays in good old Rhody. If you haven’t made travel plans yet, I am cordially inviting you to come visit me in NYC a few days before T’Giving, as I will be going back as well via train (most likely). I would like to show you where I work (Midtown) and all the places that I “travel” to on a daily basis. We have never gotten to spend quality time with eachother and I feel like this could be a great opportunity for both of us. Let me know if this sounds like a good plan to you; If it does I will request a couple days off! The email address I check regularly is morgan.jackie@gmail.com. Miss youuuu. Stay safe. As I pray every day – I wish your travels be con Dios.


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