Anyway, that's something else, and entirely off-topic. However, it did entirely absorb me for the rest of the day, and I have to say it's the first time I've really appreciated my Kindle - the whole collection of books for £20 is a steal, and about 15 hours worth of reading to boot. I know this because my Kindle has a little countdown timer; it calculates the speed at which I'm reading and then tells me how much of the fantastic emotional rollercoaster is left. This means I keep tensing up as it gets to its final moments because I really, really want things to start getting tied up. And while there's no shortage of that, endings are pretty hard to come by. The fact that I'm still reading it as I type this should speak to just how engrossing it -
AH DAMNIT, RED WEDDING AGAIN.
By the way, I've not seen the episode yet, but this is a fun thing to do to your friends who aren't yet caught up with it.
Anyhow, Sunday. A lazy day, cooking a risotto (discovered I had no risotto rise halfway through. Did I panic? Did I fret? No. I used basmati, and it still turned out epic. Fresh pea and chicken, since you're asking.) and reading some more. Around half past two I headed out to meet Mary, who arrived in St Lazare station looking like quite the most ridiculous, the most beautiful tortoise you've ever seen. In all seriousness, if you've never seen a girl with a backpack approximately twice the size of her body then you've not lived. Still, we made our way to her hotel by the airport and she did the arcane things that women do to make themselves more beautiful. I am not privy to these arcane secrets; women are majestic and mysterious creatures and I am but a man. She emerged beautified and, with me feeling the luckiest man on the planet, we made out way to dinner.
We were dining, as regular readers will know, at the Georges restaurant, which can be found on top of the Centre Georges Pompidou. This museum and art gallery sits not far from Notre Dame, the centre of Paris, and with sheet glass windows in place of walls and six stories up Mary and I had quite frankly exquisite views of the city as the sun went down and the lights came up. The food was a mix of French and Asian cuisine and was delightful; we had foie gras to start with followed by cod with a light mandarin sauce for her and crispy duck for me. Utterly delicious all. Before glancing at the dessert menu we stepped out onto the terrace and looked over the City of Lights with a glass of white wine in hand.
I challenge you to find anything better than the moment of stillness that exists between two people when no words need to be said; when a view speaks for you both, and the moment etches itself on your memory like acid on metal. Life is made up of moments, and some of my moments I've spent snoring, and some drinking, and some holding my head and wishing I'd done less of the latter and more of the former. But this moment - it's one of my best.
On the way back we made a friend: a lost-looking girl from California who asked us if we spoke English. She was struggling with the metro system and so of course we helped her out and, since she was going the same way as us, the three of us enjoyed a bizarre and meandering conversation as we wound our way back to the airport.
Alright, alright. I'll stop. I can't tell if that's envy or disgust I feel from you, but I'll desist in either case.
So this morning we were up by 10 (ish) and out by 11 (ish) and off to the races, and by races I mean we walked down the corridor and onto the shuttle-train, got off, bypassed the queue - a side note: it is almost always worth checking in beforehand and it is absolutely always a good idea to see if you're in the right queue. We moved to the queue marked "Bag drop only" as Mary had checked in on-line, and thirty seconds later a woman with an accent straight out of Chicago asked if we had already checked in on-line. Mary said yes. In short order the queue reformed behind us. We were the leaders; the prophets, discovering the secret path to speedy bag-checking. And then we had a pain au chocolat, the fuel of kings. I'm sure I'm not overstating when I say Moses might have made it if he'd had this tasty pastry to keep him going.
All of this verbiage - and it is excessive, really - is to disguise the fact that saying goodbye to Mary was really, really tough. Goodbyes, and endings, are an ass, and having to say goodbye to someone you love is even worse. Still, with Skype, maybe goodbyes aren't quite as final as they used to be.
Plus...a trip to Chicago is on the cards, as well as a road-trip to Iowa to see the charming Paula for her birthday. And if I'm really lucky I'll get to meet someone from +Edelman while I'm out there. Cross your fingers for me folks.
|Yea, this was the view. No big deal. Hey Eiffel Tower.|