You Have Meaning


You have purpose.

I was given a beautiful tiny pot of pink roses this afternoon on my way into French class.

I was talking with Johnny, who I had not even noticed walking down the street as I had my head in the clouds.

Literally, I was watching the sky.

Sometimes, when I wonder what I am doing in Paris, yes, aside from the obvious, writing, I think it may be just to observe the color of the sky, the formations of the clouds, it is God television and it never fails to enthrall me.

Of course, sometimes, it does make me a bit of a nuisance as I stand blocking the sidewalk, looking for my camera, juggling my gloves, my bag, my apple stuck between my teeth, then I forget that I am blocking the sidewalk.

I take the photograph.

Head in the clouds

Head in the clouds

Then I take another.



Some times, most often, truly, I take that photograph with my mind’s eye.

Which is what I was doing when I startled out of my reverie to see John standing in front of me waving.

He smiled.

“Oh!  How long have you been standing there?”

“Only about 20 seconds,”  he laughed.

We did the French greeting, faire de baise, kiss, kiss, one cheek, then the other cheek.

“Ca va?”

“Ca va bien,” I said and smiled.

As we were standing there catching up, my class mate walked past, the lovely W. who had consoled me last week when I was homesick for, well, I don’t know what, the fantasy of Thanksgiving?

Je suis mal de pays.

I am homesick.

I could not quite express what it was, but she knew.  She is a sympathetic soul and despite not having had huge conversations, we are somehow connected.

She is a person I feel compelled to confide in.

I have told her a few things about me and she is becoming a friend.

She touched my shoulder and handed me a small pot of pink roses wrapped in lime green paper touched with white ribbon.

Budding Friendship

Budding Friendship

“What’s this?”  I asked, then I saw the inscription.


She smiled, “I will see you in class.”

Tears pooled up in my eyes, which I now, just now, mind you, realize that I cry when my heart is full.

My heart so full, it overflows.

It read: Carmen….

You have purpose, you have meaning….

I do?

I do.

How is it that you meet the exact person at the exact time that you need?

How is it that some one I do not know, really, a week and a half of French classes is not a true intimate, yet, I do know, knows me better than I know myself?

I was beside myself.

“Wow.”  John exclaimed, “that is so sweet.”

I was abashed and shy and overwhelmed and how silly, flattered, but yes, that too.

I had also, wished, in a slightly dreamy sort of romantic way, that I would be given flowers.  I love so to be given flowers.  It has been a little while since I have had them given to me.

Of course, I think that they should come from a romantic interest.

But what is more romantic than being gifted something so brave and beautiful and full of hope with the promise of faith in who you are and what you are doing?

That is romance.

Especially when you least expect it.

Especially when you wonder, like I had earlier this afternoon, what I should be doing, what was I doing?

I was going to go to French class.

I was using g.ood o.rderly d.irection.

What is the next thing you need to do, I thought to myself as the doubt rose like gorge in my throat threatening to strangle me and hold me hostage.

Put on your coat.


Put on your muffler.

Shoulder your bag.

Participate in French class.

Now go.

And off I went, traipsing down the cobblestones on Rue Bellefond, down to the Metro, off to French school.  Where upon arriving ahead of schedule I walked around the neighborhood.  I walked past a florist and thought, I really want to have some flowers, I really want some one to give me flowers, I corrected.

You could just buy some, but that feels frivolous in these times of economy as I just put aside my rent money and then dug down to make sure I could pay for the Metro pass another month.

Do not fret, do not worry, there is a reason you are here.

I told myself, one foot in front of the other, look as you cross the street–lost in my thoughts yesterday I almost got mowed down by a taxi–look up.

And there, look, the sky.

My heart filled.

I ran into Johnny.

I got a pot of flowers.

My heart overflowed.

I have purpose.  I have meaning.

French class went by in a flash, then off to Rue Madame.  I carried my little paper wrapped package with me on the Metro headed to St. Sulpice reading Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”

I got off.

I walked around.  The sky was doing that incredible French movie Paris sky thing it does and I pulled out my camera, setting my roses onto the ledge next to me.

I took a few photographs, looked at my watch and realized I had more time than I thought.  I could go for a brief walk before I needed to be where I needed to be.

I gathered up my roses.

I realized where I was.

Pres de Rue Fleurus–the street where Gertrude Stein habituated.

Oh, why the hell not?

I walked down the street pulled along by the flowers in my hand toward the pinks that marched along the sky line.  I watched a cloud float between the two towers of row houses lining the rue and saw it go creamy golden to rosy pink to dusky velvet yellow and backlit with softest gauze pink.

I saw the window sill on the building of Stein’s home.

I set my flowers there.










Stein's Place

Stein’s Place






I actually do not want to write like Gertude Stein, her stuff is a little over my head, however, I do want to write like Carmen Martines.

And I did that tonight.

I came home.

I took my flowers out of their wrappings, watered them, set them by my bedside, gathered my lap top and my journal and headed off to Odette & Aime.


I wrote a poem.

I edited my book.


I have purpose.

I have meaning.



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