A friend is currently gallivanting around Northern Europe and giving me hunger pangs (even though I ate a big dinner) by posting beautiful pictures of his exploits. It was after an evening of satiating myself on the beauty of golden leaves in Belgium that I could not take the serenity of my blue background any more and banished it for red and gold. I am hanging out for Autumn here, and the little slice of beauty that is that tiny falling leaf at the top of my page? Perfection. At least until I find something I love more.
I spent today trying to sleep in preparation for night shift and failing miserably. So I picked up my Paris guide and read some more and swooned some more like a 15 year old with a crush. It would be embarrassing if it wasn't Paris. But it is Paris and therefore the italics are justified. As is the little leap in my heart. Having squirrelled away more than enough money for this trip in its entirety now, I am salivating over the details. Because I can.
I am currently in love with this and this apartment and quite easily see myself hanging precariously over that teensy balcony for a photo of Sacre Coeur in the twilight before topping up my red lipstick and heading off with Bingley into the night. Where I will chatter a lot, and luminesce even more, and he will be cold and stamp his feet a lot while watching me enjoy myself.
And it's a beautiful diversion, that stops me caring quite so much that the Elfling has a habit of combing her hair with a food laden fork at dinner time and the Monkey likes to hang naked upside down on the couch while spreading crumbs everywhere and the Possum has discovered the simple joy of pulling every tissue out of the box. And it helps me curb the sharp grumpiness on my tongue that accumulates from the bitter resentment at having to do yet another round of nights and the tiredness that is pre-empting them.
Yesterday I had to get out of the house, and out of the funk that has been seeping under my skin and staining it yellow; cholestatic enzymes of the soul making me want to scratch off my own skin. So I went to the markets and stood in the rain and tasted chocolate and cheese and goats curd and fresh raspberries. Bought a bottle of home made lemonade fished out of an icy bucket and a lavender macaron that was crunchy and chewy and so luxuriantly flavoured that my tongue orgasmed spontaneously. I stood in line for 15 minutes in the rain with others to buy a german hotdog - piqued by the fact that there was a line in this bustling space. And it was truly the most majestic thing I've ever eaten while curled up wet and cold on a park bench in the misting rain.
Then I tripped into the city and let a tiny sprite of a woman dab at me with luxuriant skin softener and primer before applying the lightest film of face paint I've ever worn, topped off with scarlet lips. And when she was done she smiled in that self satisfied way of someone who has achieved against the odds, because apparently red lips and I are recommencing our love affair against grey skies. And I looked in the mirror afterwards, and I smiled too, because those bright lips were smiling back at me.
I tried to buy the foundation, but apparently my particular shade of pale is all out, and over the city the story was the same. Apparently this Summer us ghostly types are proud to be porcelain and have not succumbed to the God of tan. Or bronze. Or lobster. So to console myself I tried on Christian Louboutin heels and a pair of Jimmy Choos that pinched my toes but looked so lovely I didn't care. And I tried not to grin stupidly in the mirror at my bright red lips and sparkly shoes, but I confess I didn't always succeed.
Then I wandered back home through the markets, pausing to purchase a beautiful bouquet of tiny dark pink roses and punnets of bursting strawberries that I ate as I tripped over the bridge being tousled by the river wind. And I thought of Paris, and standing on Pont Neuf as the Autumn wind gallops along the Seine and calls to me en français and I smiled. Deeper than I have in weeks. Thinking of twin river cities, one new and sleepy and rambling with mud stains all over her while the glamorous older sister merely raises a well manicured eyebrow and clicks along the cobblestones in her heels.