Happy Adventure

“Pleasure,” I answer, smiling widely as I answer the custom’s agent at Charles De Gaulle airport.  I’m back in Paris and I feel as though every bit of weight is off my shoulders for the first time in over a decade.  With my passport stamped and my bags collected, I make my way to the RER.  Scratch that, the longer distance metro line in Paris isn’t called the RER anymore.  I make a mental note to look up the new name again in case I ever have to ask for directions.  I approach the automatic ticket machines and make my selection.  I need to pick a long term metro pass, but I’d have to go to the counter for that and the line is long and full of jet lagged travelers.  I hear an American man in his 40s or 50s getting impatient with the line and I start to get nervous.  I don’t really know why, but I get so anxious when I’m around people displaying their entitlement and impatience.  “Maybe we should have just let you be German,” grumbled the man loudly, “we saved you, you could at least try to show your appreciation by doing your damn jobs.”  I took a deep breath and tried my absolute best to walk away and not comment, but to no avail.  “Literally every available spot for an employee to work is filled by an employee who is working,” I say quietly through a clenched jaw, “maybe they should have just let us stay British.”  Two machines over I hear a snort of laughter.  I look over and see a man looking amused.  He looks familiar, I think he was a few rows behind me on the plane and he was near me at baggage claim.  

   I took my ticket from the machine and made my way towards the train.  Mystery guy was about five minutes behind me and I saw him about 15 meters away on the platform.  I shook my head slightly to focus on the task at hand.  I could never sleep on planes and this flight had been no exception.  I looked at my map and the list of train stops.  I could get off and switch the regular metro but I could also just stay on the train I was preparing to board and take it all the way to Denfert-Rochereau.  The train pulled up and I stepped on, dragging my suitcases with me, and selected a seat a few rows back.  I made sure I’d be facing forward, the last thing I needed to add to my jet lag was motion sickness from ridding backwards.  I decided to just stay on this train rather than drag my stuff through various stations to transfer lines.  The mystery man walked towards me and asked if I’d mind if he sat next to me.  The train was mercifully not crowded. So I suggested we put our bags in the seats facing us and he agreed, got my bags and his bags situated, and took the seat next to me.  I smiled faintly and thanked him for taking care of the bags.  He sits and extends a hand “I’m Drew,” he says simply, “and you?”  “Lizzy,” I say, before squirming a bit to get more comfortable.  I mostly just wanted time to myself here, but he seems nice enough.  I can spend 45 minutes being friendly.  “Do you travel to France often?” I ask.  He laughs, but not in a rude way, it’s amicable “first time,” he says happily.  “I’ve never travelled overseas before.  I’m kind of exhausted, I only got a couple hours of sleep on the plane, but I heard I should make myself stay up until tonight so I can avoid the jet lag getting too bad.  I’m trying to decide what to for the rest of the day.  Should probably eat something on my way to my Air BnB.  Sorry to ramble, I’m pretty tired but also crazy excited.”  I smile, his enthusiasm makes me happy that I met him.  “If you’re going to have enough time while you’re here, I would recommend not doing anything that you’ve really been looking forward to or that is going to require a lot of effort.  You’re right about staying up though, as soon as you let yourself nap it’s all over,” I say, laughing, “you could stop at a patisserie and get yourself something for now and maybe a sandwich or a quiche for later.”  “So it’s definitely not your first visit,” he guessed correctly, laughing.  “It’s not, but I’ll never get enough time here, I absolutely love Paris,” I say.  My smile comes naturally as I am saying it.  “Not to be a total creeper, but what stop do you need?” I ask.  He starts to try to pronounce it, then gives up and points to Denfert-Rochereau and says “the place im staying is kinda between here and another stop, but the other stop is on a metro line that I’d have to transfer to, so I think maybe I’ll stay on on here even though it’s a longer trip,” he explains.   “Same,” I say, “I’m getting off there too and walking.”  We made casual small talk for the rest of the ride and I shared the recommendations I could think of.  Once the train stopped we went our separate ways and I made my way to my vacation rental.

  I checked in using the lockbox as instructed and sat down on the couch to enjoy the croissant and the apple tart I picked up while I was walking.  Once those were done I forced myself to get up and unpack.  This was a three month trip, so I figured I should make myself at home.  Once I was done with that I took a shower to help me wake up a bit more and I headed out to explore my temporary home.  

    After walking through the streets and getting my metro pass, I stopped in at a boulangerie and a cheese shop to pick up bread and cheese for my small dinner that evening.  I picked up a bit of prosciutto as well, along with some olive oil and some balsamic vinegar for dipping and a chocolate tart for dessert.  Something simple seemed like the best plan for me since the sleep deprivation tended to give me tummy aches.  I went to bed early and woke up ready to make the most of these three months.

    A few days later, I was sotting down to have breakfast near the Eiffel Tower.  I walked by the tower and noted that it wasn’t insanely crowded, so I decided to wait to buy my ticket until after breakfast.  I glanced up at the door and saw Drew walking in, looking for an empty table when his green eyes noticed me.  A friendly smile lit up his features and I waved him over.  “Wow,” he said, “didn’t think I’d see you again!  I don’t want to delay you if you’ve already finished.”  I shook my head and smiled “all I’ve ordered so far is my drinks,” I said, indicating the glass of Diet Coke and the carafe of water I front of me, “join me.”  He  smiled again and sat, placing his phone in his pocket.  I picked my own phone up off the table and did the same, then handed him the menu.  I had already decided on toast, a cup of fruit, and some yogurt.  Once we placed our orders, I asked him how his trip was going and he answered enthusiastically that it had been wonderful so far.  He had been to a few museums and had spend time at the Tuileries and Luxembourg gardens.  “Im going to the Eiffel Tower and the Arche de Triomphe today,” he said, “would you like to join me?”  I considered the invitation; my plan for this trip was to spend time on my own, but going to a few of the same destinations together seemed harmless.  I was already planning on one of those two places, so it would be rude to just ignore him.  “Sure,” I answered, “sounds like a good idea.”  We spent the rest of the day together, then went our separate ways.  Other than a few brief run-ins over the next few weeks I didn’t see him again until the train to Normandy at the start of the fourth week.  I saw him board the train and glance my way, and I wondered to myself if I’d get to spend more time with him…

November 10, 2022 20:04

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John K Adams
00:30 Nov 19, 2022

You have a flowing conversational style. It is funny how two people, completely disconnected, can cross paths over and over. You might consider breaking your prose into more paragraphs. A sea of text can be daunting. Dialogue is easier to follow too. One spelling note. It should be 'riding' not 'ridding.' I find reading aloud before posting helps catch simple errors. I've made far worse mistakes. Keep writing.


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Kelly Sibley
11:11 Nov 16, 2022

Hi, Kate. I really enjoyed how you located your story; that grabbed my attention and encouraged me to keep reading. Writing in the first person is difficult because you can only refer to yourself as I, which can affect the flow of a narrative. Whereas if you have a character, you can refer to them as Lily, young woman, Ms Bennet, Ms Lily Bennet, Lil, she, her... So many other options. Keep writing, practice makes progress, and keep enjoying because passion fuels progress!


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