“That was the end of the first part of Paris. Paris was never to be the same again although it was always Paris and you changed as it changed.” –Hemingway
I’m still saying goodbye to Paris.
Sappiness and nostalgia aside, there isn’t a day that’s gone by that I haven’t thought about it, or been asked about it, or talked about it voluntarily. I’ve just awakened from this wonderful dream that’s so raw and so real, but the days like minutes go by and this dream is quickly fading.
Paris is gone, but thinking about looking out over the city from Montmartre, cozying up in the library at Shakespeare & Co., and watching the lights dance on the Seine at night still fills me with warmth.
Paris left me lost and isolated at times. Paris made me question what I truly wanted and truly needed. Paris changed me. Any other foreign city in the world could’ve put me through the same process, but what matters is that it was Paris that did it. I asked Paris who I was and Paris answered.
I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. I hope I do, but I can feel other cities in other countries pulling on my soul. Paris, for me, will be like that person that appears in your life for just one season, but manages to re-define you in some way you’ll carry with you for the duration of your existence. Circumstances of life will keep you apart, but you’ll hold in your heart a truth a dear friend once bestowed upon you. And it will continue to be true.
“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” –Hemingway