A moment in time.
Noelle loved France. At least she loved the idea of it. So we decided to visit her grandmother. The woman lived in the French countryside, in Avignon. We brought her to Paris. Her only thoughts of the city were of a time before the War. We wanted to create a new memory for her, as well as for us. We visited for a week. We acted like tourists and we made her grandmother do the same. We walked among Manet and Degas and Delacroix, and we ran Gucci and Hermes through our fingers. We rode bicycles, three abreast, on the Champs Elysees. We wore berets and we huddled with sightseers beneath the Eiffel Tower. We ate in cafés, often at twilight, and we drank too much wine, and we laughed in the pink glow of the city until it was dark. We walked along the Seine each evening, Noelle’s grandmother pointing to the drops of lamplight reflected on the water. In tortured English, she explained how the city was like love, how Paris lived for the night, and that its beauty would disappear by morning, and when it returned the next evening, it would only be for others.