A Romantic in Paris

The sun is threatening to break through the clouds.  For the first time in a long time, I can see blue sky around me.  Autumn  turns into winter.  The auburn hue is replaced by bare trees and the soft light from a sun hugging the southern horizon.  I am in Paris.  The City of Lights.  The most romantic place in the world.  For in Paris I always fall in love.  In love with myself.  In love with the city.  In love with life.  And yet.  I am closed off to love.  Romantic has been replaced by poetic.  Weakened.  Diminished.  I had first noticed the change a few weeks ago.  I was with R in Durham.  We were strolling along the river in the fading light.   The world was bathed in colour.  Red.  Black.  Orange.  Grey.  It was romantic.  I called it poetic.

With every ounce of energy, I fought against the word.  Romantic.  It is an elevating word.  It brings forth a meaning and an intent beyond friendship when spoken between two people.  It opens up the possibility of love.  Of romance.  A possibility that I have been resisting for several years.  Fear had become me.  Afraid of loving as I did before.  Afraid of hurting as I did before.  The loss was too great.  Paris brought me back to life.  Romance pours out of the very soul of Paris.  Atop a barge on the Seine, looking out across at the Louvre, I felt at peace with myself again.  Everything was going to be okay.