I hunker down in my window seat, squished next to a round-belly business man, a guarantee that for the three hour ride to Paris, I will most likely not be using the WC, at least, not with the frequency my tiny bladder prefers.
The sun sets already in the minutes before departure, and like a flash, we bounce and shake and shimmy our way up the fast track to La Gare de Lyon, a prompt arrival minutes before 21 heure, or, for you analogers, 9 PM.
My cousin Céline is there to meet me, dapper from a full day at the office, and like a momma cat, she plucks me from the hoards of arrivees and speed walks us through the Parisian metro, all the way to La Madeleine, into a posh mini MonoPrix, where we purchase dinner, a five-minute fresh pasta and sauce, and all the way up four flights of winding stairs, each step angled towards the central vortex, a race track of a stairwell meant to send the stepper to the extreme outer edge, hugging the wall for the promise of a slippery tumble down the middle seems all too real, especially given the age of the handrail and said steps, neither of which I grant too much trust, for surely, surely, the grooves in these puppies date from the Revolution, when men wore heels and women flats.
Alas, we arrive, and damn, it feels good to be in Pah-ri with my cousine, feasting on tortellinis and sauce tomate, talking of things that throw me for a head scratch, like–did y’all know that the biggest funder of anti-psychology measures and initiatives is the Church of Scientology?
Me, neither, but given the whole Tom Cruise alien thingy, makes total sense, right?
Time comes to consider sleeping, for tomorrow, Céline works and so do I, albeit mine perhaps more pleasant, and as I unpack my things, I find a stowaway, a little Swiss friend to keep me company, Charlie’s Italian doppelgänger–what a pleasant surprise, this surprise farewell from Nathalie.
And, with that, bonne nuit friends!