By Mariachiara Ficarelli
The couple makes its way across the Pont des Arts with arrogance.
Their movements are a calculated dance – a celebration of the fact that with every step they take, more and more eyes linger on them. With a slow, symmetrical grace, they navigate their way across the bridge.
The man and the woman both have shoulder-length brown hair. They are wearing matching denim and black leather outfits that accentuate their long, thin bodies. Their faces are hidden behind large dark glasses. They move with the confidence of people who know they are beautiful. And beautiful they are.
Caught in their aura, I forget where I am. The façade of the Louvre and the people sitting along the riverbanks of Île de la Cité fade away. For a moment, all that exists in Paris are these two elegant figures, with intertwined fingers, and a pale blue horizon. Their seduction is in their anonymity. The possibilities are infinite. My brain begins spinning stories. Are they film stars, models or lovers?
They disappear. Their presence lingers. A void forms in between the zigzagging tourists. I walk into it.
I am eager to leave the wide sidewalks next to the expanse of buildings that make the Louvre. A traffic light halts my march. I notice a young woman sitting on the back of a Vespa at the crossing. She is wearing a bright pink coat. Her face is familiar. I know her. Or at least I think I do. Before I can decide, the Vespa zooms off. I am left unsure. Pedestrians stream around me as the lights change. I melt into the crowd.
I walk briskly. I move towards the third arrondissement, taking a diversion to avoid the Saturday afternoon shoppers at Les Halles. I find myself in the Marais, with café tables spilling onto the sidewalks filled with a mix of locals and tourists sipping coffees, enjoying being en plein air (in open air) on this warm, spring afternoon.
I look up at the top-floor apartment windows, glinting in the sun. I remember staying in one as a little girl. The apartment was above a boulangerie and every morning my mother would buy fresh baguettes to eat with the strawberry jam. I am not sure where exactly this apartment was. I know it is somewhere in this area. I keep turning down side streets with the hope of stumbling across the building. I tell myself I will recognize it. But the likelihood is that I have already passed it.
I feel alone. I shiver slightly as a breeze whips my ankles. A skirt was an overeager decision, the desire for summer. I am filled with memories of my last visit to this city. I yearn to once again have tiny hands that grip eagerly those of my parents, to follow blindly and not have to think about how to find my way back to the hotel.
Oh, how Paris makes you dream.