Today is a long way from days ago when I was last up in my quiet loft tending to my blog, wandering around an online writing class, clueless.
I slept little, uneasy with the world and the evil in it. Counted my many blessings, prayed my thanks, recited all the names of the Lord that I could think of. Still, no sleep. Facebook wants to know what’s on my mind and I have too much on my mind, so I will pass.
Paris is on my mind. I recall the two weeks so long ago when I was there. We were youngsters then, hardly into our thirties, and to prepare, we spoke only French to each other; you know, that fractured stuff kids learn in high school. Six months of that had us feeling we could do this. Yeah.
On what was my first transatlantic flight, I watched the wing to be sure it wouldn’t fall off. Mercifully, night darkened the skies and I tried to sleep, fitfully. With dawn, the flight attendant turned on the lights and served up rubbery breakfast to the groggy and the irritable and before I knew it, there I stood at Charles De Gaulle, staring out the glass wall at the flight of the Concorde, marveling at its sleekness, watching it lift like some kind of angel into the blue, blue heaven.
Bussed it to Paris. Got scolded because we didn’t see there was a line queued for taxis. The French delight in correcting Americans. We were not being pushy. We were half asleep. We complied, much to the disappointment of the scolder who longed for more time to berate us. It was only later that I laughed.
In the past two days my mind flooded with the city, its underground, pastries to die for, incredible bread, and the simplest of chicken prepared many ways, eaten in bistros by two fledgling gourmands. We hung out at Fouchon every morning, lounging into the day.
I remember Telly Savalas, star of Kojak, standing on the pavement outside the restaurant, waiting for his next scene. He was making a segment for his series. Inside, watching us intently, were six ladies who lunch. I cocked my head and smiled. They smiled back. None of them had any English, but they had a question.
Bonjour, Madame, que est-ce? Fruit of the Loom?
One of them points across the room at a boy wearing a T-shirt with the cornucopia icon known world wide as Fruit of the Loom.
Whoa! Our French will not cover this. I feel my eyebrows knit as I stare at my plate, then look up at her and try.
Ahhh….dessous. Um, sou-vetements. Comprends? Puzzled looks from the whole table. And then, suddenly, understanding. And consternation. Why would a young boy wear his underwear in public? Eyebrows climbed foreheads around the table.
Fast forward to this week. Watching Paris blow up, with evil wielding guns and dispatching Parisians willy nilly. Who can make sense of the senseless? Barbarity requires no skill. Hatred unharnessed defies any understanding. How does a “religion” call itself one of love while justifying cold blooded murder in the name of “allah”?
There are places where my mind will not go. It balks, backs away and weeps through the soul like a summer downpour. I cease trying to understand. Can there be any explanation for such despair? What must one believe to even think cleansing of anything happens in this violence?
And then, comes a stalking arrogance determined to rewrite the purpose of the event and pin the blame anywhere but where it belongs.
The world is upside down and we all are standing on our heads, myopic.