opinion impopulaire: c’est ok de ne pas aimer la ville de l’amour

1 Oct


Lucas and I decided to go to Paris. Ah, oui, ce Paris, the city of lights, la ville de l’amour, the city of the best baguette we have ever tasted.

When I think of Paris, I try to stray from the negative. I mean, the negative within myself. Then I think, no, fuck that, life isn’t alway positive. It’s ok to be down sometimes, as long as I can get myself out of it and see the positive sooner than later. Let that shit out. When I was working with Gilda’s Club, a non-profit in the cancer support community, we told people that it’s ok to say “cancer sucks!” because it does. The people living with cancer don’t always have to have a smile, a positive attitude.  It fucking sucks. And so did Paris.

Let me explain.

Upon arrival I felt like something was wrong. Paris just didn’t sit right in my tummy. No, it wasn’t the crack addict outside of our apartment, they don’t phase me. I got there and it was just like my brain hurt, a fog of, I don’t know how to put it into words, like looking through a foggy window after a shower or trying to run through glue.; it was difficult to see and it was difficult to move.  We were there in Paris,  but we weren’t doing Paris. On our first morning there I was sitting on a terrace and through talking with Lucas, I realized, this is all wrong because this is where my mom was going to meet us with Dan. Paris belonged to my Mom.

A little off topic, but this will relate, I promise. My mom loved Great Big Sea (GBS) and the last time I got to see her beautiful face was in Newfoundland to see them, a trip we took together. We have gone to a number of their concerts together. In fact, my first one was when I was in grade 5. I’m not 27 years old.  This summer I went to GBS for the first time without her to honour her, to remember her, to have a piece of her. My friend Tallie joined me and it turns out, Tallie might be the extent of what I enjoyed about the concert because it was Mom that made GBS what they are. Once GBC got on stage and started their set I thought damn, they are really off tonight. I kept running through what could be wrong; is the treble off? Is the mic not set right? Too much base? Too much lighting? Not enough? In the middle of ‘Consequence Fee,’ which, mom would always yell “This is my song!” I realized that is wasn’t a component of sound or light that was missing, it was Mom.  Paris was like a three day GBS concert.

My mom wanted to go to Paris. She wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower and kiss Dan, her husband, on the top. She was a romantic. The other thing she wanted to cross off of her list was to eat a crossant and drink an espresso on a sidewalk cafe.

I originally wanted to go to  Paris to honour her in a way. I wanted to and then I decided that I didn’t want to. It just didn’t feel right in my gut but when I told Lucas he said we should and that it’s important that we do “this.” Sometimes, believe it or not, your partner knows you a bit better than you know yourself. Lucas is good at this but this time “this” turned into a breakdown in front of the Eiffel Tower on our last night there.

We were walking around after dinner trying to find the “perfect” cafe to have a croissant and an espresso at with the Tower in our view but we couldn’t find the right one. So we began walking even further and looking for another spot, and another spot, and another spot. It was turing into something that it wasn’t supposed to turn into and it began to amplify the fact that mom wasn’t in Paris with us. It was amplified because I just kept wanting to ask her where she thought we should go. She wasn’t there to ask. Would she want a croissant at night? She wasn’t there to ask. Does it need to be in front of the Eiffel Tower? She wan’t there to ask. What about just a drink on the river? Would that be something she would want to do? She wasn’t there to ask. Can you imagine the pain, no, the anguish this would conjure up in someone’s heart? It’s unquestionably horrific.

Finally I just had to stop. I didn’t do it. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Oh, I honoured her, I sure did and there is a butterfly in a tree in a park above where I drank-of-the-bottle wine and cheese and baguette  to show for it.  I didn’t, however, try to recapture her image of Paris because it is with her, in her mind and in her spirit. It is not what is supposed to happen now.  Perhaps, one day,  but for now, it is not right.



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