Vampire Hunting in Paris

There are places in this world which split you open, in awe, joy or sorrow; gardens, ruins, stone circles. There are cities that cleave you like a ripe fig; alive and all millipede feet and heavy breathing. They are aware.

Paris is such a city for me. A great leopard with filthy paws. Paris unpacks my loneliness with my shirts and shakes it out.

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I couldn’t tell you why. It might be the long streets tapping with the ghosts of a million famous footsteps, making me long for the past, a trick of nostalgic light. It might be the solitude, having no one to share the breath of this city. It might be the swarming crowds; each citizen an arrowhead, focused, determined. I merely wander cluelessly from my moorings.

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The romantic in me can’t have it both ways; I love the solitude, the melancholy. Watching the moon rise over the Seine, I know the glimmering perfection of the moment would be lessened for me if someone were to run up, laughing, and clasp my hand (Really? Are you lying?). My most profound and bittersweet moments are only experienced alone. The city winks back at me from silver-plated water. She understands. She embraces suffering like a martyr, a mistress of mansions and garrets.

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I am fortunate enough to catch Vespers in Notre Dame, the call and answer of prayerful melody; a vast aviary of devoted birds. There is one woman close to the altar, decked in blue and white like the Virgin. She raises her hands in ecstasy when she sings, she is transported beyond her body, her hands full of stained glass light.

I wonder at her life when the music stops. I wonder if carrying such a faith, she is ever lonely, too.

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I walk slowly through the streets back to the hotel. My train leaves for the South in the morning, there’s no point ghost-hunting my heart in this place with one turn of the clock left. I need more time! Paris lets me know she will be here when I need her, she sends a gentle rain to freckle the long avenues. The smell of the wet pavement rises, mingles with frankincense still tangled in my hair; they say when a holy scent follows a prayer, then that prayer is heard.

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19 thoughts on “Vampire Hunting in Paris

  1. andysmerdon

    Beautifully said ‘A Wild Savage Star’. I also think Paris is a staggering city. My wife and I try to include it on every overseas trip – I could never see Basilique du Sacré Cœur too many times… Thanks for sharing and reminding, Andy 🙂

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  2. tpesce2015

    ‘Raindrops freckling the pavement…’ Your writing is so unusually brilliant, I know I could never write this way. So I get the great pleasure of enjoying it when YOU write this way! And as for Paris, I had my 25th birthday there and I mention it because I can’t remember where I had any of my other birthdays. Paris is that which cannot be forgotten and makes unforgettable any experience of it – even a picture on a postcard.

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  3. thegirlwholivesinbooks

    Reblogged this on The Perks of Being a Thinker and commented:
    Beautifully written… like an artist painting a masterpiece. This post flows like the lyrics of a nymph. Note: my fabulous similes. 😛 I love Paris as well and wish to go again in the near future – your post has brought back my memories of this wonderful city.

    Like

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