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a long-distance love affair {8/17/14}

Kelley Clink

I discovered Paris in the summer of 2005. Throngs of tourists packed the Champs Elysee and Luxembourg Gardens, the sky over the Eiffel Tower was a washed out, heat-scorched blue, and I was laying on a blanket on my small patch of front yard in Chicago.

Today's prompt: Bookshelf

I've never actually been to Paris. My first meaningful encounter with the City of Light came (as so many of my first meaningful encounters do) through the pages of a book. This time it was A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. It had been a little more than a year since my brother died. I was 26 and attempting yet another career change. I hated nearly everything about my life--about life in general. But in the pages of that book I found a city pulsing with creativity. History. Beauty. I walked the narrow, winding streets and wide, majestic boulevards. I sat alongside the rushing river and sipped coffee and aperitifs on sidewalk cafes. I was somewhere different.

I was someone different.

I can't say that Paris became an obsession--more like a dream. An alternate universe I could escape to when I needed escape. In the decade since reading A Moveable Feast for the first time, I've developed a small collection of passages to Paris (seen above). When life becomes more than I can manage, I trace the pages of walking tours. I drink in the spectacular colors and details of photography books. Or, most recently, I pound the pavement with Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret (talk about a not-so-guilty pleasure).  

Today's prompt: Bookshelf 

Visiting Paris is still at the top of my bucket list. I know the odds that the brick-and-mortar will match up with the Paris of my mind are slim, and I don't care. No matter what reality reveals, I know it will be spectacular.



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