Paris usually defeats my boyfriend and I. Whenever we make plans to get up and go into the centre from his place in the suburbs we never make it. Inevitably, the thoughts of crowds on the metro, crowds on the streets and the sheer expense of a day trip – complete with lunch or coffee – into the capital puts us off. We’ve become more thrifty with each passing visit to his home. Perhaps the word is lazy; you can decide.
I wonder whether it was yesterday’s blog post and his resulting guilt over my admittedly dramatic ‘my sanity is hanging by a thread’ declaration that resulted in him saying: motivation! this morning and in us finding ourselves stuffed full of toast standing on the train platform an hour later.
We had a reason for going. You might expect it from me by now but I am an obsessive diary-keeper. This year will be my twenty-second diary; I began aged seven when my mum bought me my first diary (with a Newcastle united themed cover). Despite knowing every January 1st that I will be beginning a new diary, I never have myself organised enough to have already bought one. It seems wrong somehow to buy a diary for the new year in the old one. Anyway, I plan to blog soon about my diary writing but for the moment you know at least what it was that was behind at least my motivation to get into Paris.
We’ve all experienced those days where most everything we do seems to work out. My natural disposition is to want to feel anxious that something unpleasant is just around the corner given the see-saw nature of life but because of the afternoon I’ve experienced I am managing to keep this worry at bay.
Paris seemed to open up to us. The process of finding the right, because I am most particular, diary was surprisingly easy and my boyfriend bought his customary Moleskine journal. If you didn’t know, the Moleskine shop in Chatlet Les Halles can personalise your purchases and so he got a small 2019 stamped (monochromed?) on the back of the journal. My diary speaks for itself I think.
The streets were busy and Paris blows a cold that is not as bone chilling as it is in Ireland nor as life-threatening as it feels in Amsterdam but is nevertheless enough to make holding hands impossible. Despite that we found ourselves walking down to Notre Dame and while normally both of us would have stayed on the sidewalk resolutely ignoring the crowds taking selfies in front of the cathedral, he suddenly suggested that we move over to join the tourists and take our own photo.
In 2015 we met in Switzerland and though our first date was an afternoon after work, sitting on a wall overlooking Lake Geneva, our second happened when he asked me to come back to Paris with him and I said, OK.
I don’t know if either of us planned it to work out the way it did or it was indeed just one of those days but this afternoon we walked to the café where that date took place. Back in 2015 it was summer when we sat outside drinking hot chocolate and eating croissants (how stereotypical, I know). Today there were no croissants left but we had the same hot chocolate and watched the city pass outside, listening to the sounds of what seemed to be a manifestation. Who’d be surprised if it was?! We also wondered if we could both fit on one of those electric scooters and if we should take that risk.
I was too shy to tell him that I am proud of how far we’ve come together.
January can be a hard month, a horrible month in which the motivation to do many things can be impossible to unearth. I know this only too well. Somehow my afternoon in Paris and the fact that it started with that very word – motivation – makes me determined to see myself through this month with far more belief that when I lay my hands on my determination, I deserve to have one of those days where everything just seems to go my way.
We all deserve days, or at least afternoons, like this one.