I found my old journal, from my first trip to Paris
when I was just 16.
It’s strange the things memory changes.
I look at my younger handwriting,
the large swooping loops of the L,
the fat hanging ass of the Y.
I read about how I could have gone to the Concierge,
to see the room they kept Marie Antoinette in before
they tilted back that long Austrian neck for the last time
and shouted Off With Her Head.
But instead I went shopping.
In fact that seemed to have been all that I did.
I came home from that trip on April 2nd.
I left for my second trip to Paris on April 2nd.
Sixteen years later.
This time, I didn’t do much shopping.
But I didn’t see the room they kept her in either.
Maybe I’m saving that for the third trip.
I’m cobbling France together in my mind
in snippets and pieces, in sixteen year chunks.
I’ll go back in sixteen more years,
when I’m 48 and then again at 64
and finally at 80 I’ll see the room they held her in.
At the end of that journal, of that first trip far from home,
I told myself Japan would be next.
It wasn’t. College and heartbreak and moving and marriage was next.
But I’ll get there,
sometime between 32 and death.
11 hours ago