when in paris (400)

when in paris, i wandered aimlessly down a random street. i couldn’t read the street signs, didn’t know enough of the language to converse with the locals and figure out where i was. i paced until my heels wore blisters into the bone of my ankle, certain blood would begin dripping behind me.

once or twice i paused to look behind me, shone the flashlight app from my phone onto the street and looked for bloody heel-prints, finding none.

somewhere in the distance, i saw buildings: grand, sprawling castles and thin, narrowly-spired towers. there was such a confusion in my mind that i lost all track of where i was: the world had dissolved around me, and all that was left was the dazed-looking train station i approached. i clasped my phone as though the navigation system would tell me where i was, what part of the city.

the station was closed when i approached, so i wrote a note on a bit of paper and left it under the nearest seat, folded and tucked into a tiny portion. after fluttering for another few minutes, arguing with myself, i settled onto the seat and folded my legs underneath me, leaning back to stare up at the stars.

when it became night, i had no idea. all i was aware of was the muted colours, the gradual  hush that had crept over the city and the occasional murmur of noise when i bypassed another building. sometimes, i paused and pretended to be getting my bearings: there were none to be had now though, so in the end i carried on walking.

maybe, if i walked long enough, i’d cross a border and enter another country. there are people around now, two people who don’t seem to have anything to do with each other and as i watched, their paths overlap before they went their separate ways. it was only for another couple of minutes that i could trace their trajectories, and i automatically snapped photos just before they disappear from my view, already beginning to make up new stories about their lives.

having finished the argument with myself about where i was and where to be next, i stood to leave, walking for an indeterminate length of time.

(all around me, the quiet rush of a river hummed. i couldn’t understand that language either.)

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