The Voice in My Head
Here in Paris, John, you are with me in a new way.
When I transfer from one Metro line to another, when I get on the wrong bus, when I stand before Monet’s “Water Lillies” in the l’Orangerie, you are with me, guiding me, soothing me.
When I panic reading the stops as the train I’m riding whizzes through darkness, you calm me. You tell me to check the upcoming stops. Maybe I was wrong about how many stops to the transfer point. And if I truly am going in the wrong direction, you say it’s easy here, just get off and go to the platform on the other side.
Paris was the first place we came when we began to travel “across the pond.” I could not take this journey if you had not shown me the way. We never traveled anywhere that you didn’t figure out the public transportation, from the trams and buses of Krakow to Berlin’s U-Bahn. How you loved studying the maps and finding our way.
You also learned the most economical way to buy tickets. I didn’t do this here in Paris and ended up spending twice as much as I would have if I had just bought a month’s pass. Forgive me. I saw the photo booths in Metro stations and knew what they were for, but as usual I was always hopping off and on, hurrying from one destination to another.
I told friends in the States I was going to sit in cafes, drink lattes, write, and let Paris come to me, but you know I am never that laid-back. I have crammed in as many museums, monuments, and shopping as I possibly could in three weeks. My favorite hours were spent with a new friend in a gorgeous park tucked away in a residential neighborhood of St. Germain de Pres. While dusk gathered around us, we told each other the histories of our hearts, who we had loved and how we had lost some of them. Of course, I spoke of you.
In bed at night in a new place, I long to put my face in your hair and send tiny kisses down the back of your neck. You would tell me to turn around, so you could do the same for me. How wonderful your prickly unshaven face felt against my skin. You come to me in my sleep now, and we are together, lovers and friends. Then I wake and lose you all over again.
Soon I will be off to Krakow, the city we discovered together, the place we loved best. Come with me, darling. Continue to be the voice in my head.