Persevere

by

That is what I heard today.

Yes.

Continue.

Just because I cannot see what lies around the next bend of the road does not mean I need to lie down in the middle of that road and give in.

I can.

I will.

Continue to persevere.

Especially after I ran into K. today.

We were supposed to meet up on Friday at Shakespeare and Company and talk writing and books and what not.  She was unable to make it, we rescheduled and I have her down tomorrow to meet with; of course, it would happen to coincide with another visitor from San Francisco!

I cannot believe how many people from San Francisco I am getting to see.

I gave out instructions and directions today to this friend as she was arriving today into town to stay, at of all places, the Hilton at La Defense.

I know exactly where that is.

I go by it once a week on my way to my baby sitting gig in Courbevoie.

I was able to tell her exactly what line to take into the city tomorrow, what Metro stop to get off at, where to cross the street, which street, walk two blocks, turn right, open door, up three sets of steps, and voila!

I will see you at noon on Avenue George V.

Of course I would have made plans to meet with K. at Shakespeare and Company.

Of course.

I thought about cancelling, rescheduling, negotiating.

I thought about it, then she said the magic words, the sentence that has stuck in my head all day long since she mouthed it this morning.

“I started reading your book, I’m up to page 56, I didn’t want to stop to come here,” she paused with a bright smile.  “I wanted to keep reading.”

The highest flattery to a writer’s ears.

At least to this writer’s ears.

I wanted to read more.

Magic words.

Words that made up my mind than and there to keep my date with her.

I did tell her, however, that another friend was in town and I would be having coffee with this friend at 2pm.  I would make the Shakespeare and Company date, but I would be a little late.

I eagerly, nervously, await her thoughts.

On the writing front, I continue to send out queries.

I sent out two today, unfortunately the first one got bounced back, the e-mail address was incorrect from the data base I am now working with.  I did not feel like sending out another.

Then I saw a post from my friend Beth, congratulating and acknowledging my work.

That quickly made my mind up for me, yes, that’s right, I do seek approval from my peers.

But in this case I don’t care if it is a defect of character, it got me to send out another query.

I also went for a swim today.

First time in three tries that the pool was open.

I swam for about an hour.

It was good for me to get out of my head, into the pool, and just paddle about.

The lanes were not too crowded, despite their being in all three of the open swim lanes, an elderly man or woman, sometimes both, doing some hang-dog version of a back stroke.

I slowed down to a crawl, not the crawl as I would have crashed right on into her, but literally a drifting breaststroke of the barest bit of movement, while in front of me this woman paddled painfully on her back like a frog with her red capped head bobbing up and down in the water.

She had the right side of the lane and grandpa side stroke had the left side.

The traffic jam was behind me a mess of swimmers with kick boards and pull buoys waiting impatiently for the moment where we could all slip through the slow morass.

I have found myself becoming more patient with the slow swimmers, letting myself slow down as well, or flip over and do a back stroke instead–which is my slowest stroke.

I debated in my head what I would write about today.

Would I come back to the house and hide out?

Or would I venture on down the road to Odette & Aime and tackle some reading and writing?

What would I do if I weren’t afraid?

I would go sit my ass down at a table and let whatever comes, come.

I would persevere, despite not having heard from any of the queries I have been sending out.  I would continue with the path, knowing only this, if I didn’t what was the point of coming to Paris?

Maybe it was only to be in the cafe, sitting at a table watching the snow flurries drift down.

Settled against a black leatherette chair with the remnants of my cafe creme in a cup on the table, the blog written (still to be proofed and sent–not this blog, this blog I am writing in real-time and in approximately two to three hundred words I will post up–the blog my friend requested on being 40), I went to open the new book I am reading.

I get an hour of time to read, I grant myself that, often times I get it riding the Metro, but if I have spent the money to get a cafe at the cafe, I am going to do some reading as well.  It is easier to read in the cafe than at the house as well, I feel the need to do it.

I stayed at the table, occasionally lifting my eyes off the printed paper to watch the snow flutter down, or notice that the person striding past the cafe had been walking for some time, the accumulation of snow on his head a cap of white against his tight black curls.

I thought of Cafe Montmartre in Madison.

I remember this one night, which is the one night that my brain likes to have romanticized.

It was January, winter break, the students were gone.  The city was quiet, defiantly belonging to the locals, and shrouded in heavy snow.

The side walks were treacherous and the cars were stranded.

The plows were working over time and then some.

The boyfriend and I bundled up and waded through the drifts to the bar.

I will always remember, for whatever reason, the smell of the bar as we walked in, the wood plank bench, the cafe table we sat at along the wall.  We had Baileys and Frangelico in snifters over ice.  The snow fell, liquid jazz played on the stereo, Thelonious Monk piano notes splattered slowly against my ear drums and the booze heated my feet.

The candles were lit.

The sodium street lights haloed the snow fall.

The bartender polished glasses.

The cocktail waitress paid us just the right amount of attention.

We nestled in the nook, glazed with sweet liqueurs, snow fall, jazz, and the smell of candles burning.

I do not remember a word of the conversation.

But I would have said, this is it, this is the moment.

My whole life in this snifter of booze, creamy sweet, slick sliding down the balloon of glass, my love across from me in a t-shirt and flannel, wet snow shining in his hair, pulled back in a messy ponytail.

My life persevered.

I persevered.

That relationship shattered.

Then I am back, in this time, alone, but not lonely, kept company by the drifts of French spiraling around me, all in correct tense, and fluidly spoken, lyrically spoken, just the good nights and hello’s and how are you’s, flurries like the snow, falling about me.

I am sad for that girl, so in love with that boy.

Yet, I am cannot regret those moments, or any other, that led me here, in front of this computer,writing this blog.

In Paris.

 

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