I have a submission up at 1000words. Here’s the story – click the link to see the picture.
This photograph was taken one morning as I stood at the kitchen counter of a friend’s apartment in Paris. I know I was barefoot, because when I look at the picture I remember how cold the tiles were. It was March. I had never been to Paris before, but I had travelled some and knew that when I left I would want the small moments documented for later reflection. I can remember the Arc de Triomphe through any dollar postcard, but the pictures I took of the balcony and the dining room table and the farmer’s market are my own memories.
Do you ever wonder, when you look at scenes like this, what it is to live in a country that has more than three hundred years of history behind it? Those buildings in that picture are likely no more than two hundred years old at most, but they’ve been constantly inhabited. When you walk along a cobbled street in Paris, or buy your morning bread in an ancient patisserie in a quiet alley you begin to feel as if this is the only real place you’ve ever been. The stone walls you touch are true, not ersatz recreations of lime and polymer that decorate American homes and highways. The bread is fresh and the strawberries are sweet. The sky is not the same sky you have at home, and light touches objects differently.
This was five years ago, but I know that at the moment this picture was taken my best friend was in the other room cutting bread and rhapsodizing over the tulips on the table. We went out that night and stayed too late and took the last train home. Some Italian boys flirted aggressively in the station, and ended up chasing us through winding cobbled alleys until we lost them in the dark and fumbled our key at the door. When we stepped in the hallway, we took off our shoes so that we wouldn’t wake up the old lady on the second floor as we climbed the stairs, breathless from the chase.