Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Stroll Abroad

I want to be in London.

There, I will don a floppy cap, a tailored trench coat, a perfectly broken in leather bag. I will spend the morning drinking tea at Harrods while reading Dickens (Great Expectations, perhaps), practicing my accent when I order cucumber sandwiches. I will scale the Tower Bridge and throw off my hat, my coat, my bag for just a moment so that I can do a little dance there at the top, and I won't care a bit that the whole world stops to watch me. I will walk victorious through Piccadilly on my way to dine with the Queen.

At dusk, I will stroll along the Thames and the wind will blow me in and the current will take me all the way down to the coast, across the channel, up an inlet that turns out to be the Seine.

And I will find myself in Paris.

(In my mind, I am saying it like this: ParEE! And rolling my r's as much as a Midwesterner can. There is an accordion player following behind me the whole way, his sad melody my soundtrack.)

I will roam the streets all night and talk to the seedy women, and they will be cultured even in their shame. I will follow a sleepy young baker to his shop and stand quiet outside until a cloud of flour puffs by and I walk away, a mime returned to his home country. And I will stumble, through cobbled back alleys, along quiet bistro-lined streets, until the Eiffel Tower breaks through the buildings, and I will stand and stare for a while.

I will notice in the soft morning light that the metal is rusted, the lines are welded, imperfect. It is brown, which is not what I thought. It reminds me of a construction site or middle school shop class. Except for the tall red flowers circling round.

I will wait there disappointed all day, until twilight comes and softens the steel and blends with the street lights to make it look how I'd hoped all along.

Satisfied, I will catch a flight home and I will practice my French accent on my children at the breakfast table and always talk of how I danced atop the Tower Bridge.

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