I want to walk by my favorite blue door next to the Red Wheelbarrow.
I want to see Thibault at Imprimerie Frag and know that my prints are going to be amazing, instead of emailing around and finding one local printer in the Bay Area who won’t even email me back.
I want to go to my favorite bakery and order a croissant that is so saturated with butter there’s a stain on the wrapping paper and it sags in my hand.
I want dahlias at my favorite florist on the rue Cler.
I want one last midnight walk under the orange glow of the glass lamps.
I want to walk down the Seine on a summer evening with the warm wind blowing through my hair.
I want to hear the chatter on the quais, see the pique-niques and hear the champagne bottles pops.
I want to walk past 24 rue Le Regrattier and get an ice cream at Berthillon.
I want to stroll through the Palais Royal and see the magnolias.
I want a sunrise stroll at the Louvre, to marvel in the majesty.
I want to wake up at the crack of dawn to have the Parc de Sceaux to myself with the cherry blossoms.
I want a spontaneous trip to Provence skip in fields of flowers and round the guardrail-less mountain roads to see hilltop villages on the horizon.
I want to walk up the cliffs of Étretat with a fresh raspberry tart.
I want to sit in the vines of Champagne, drinking in the unending waves of red, gold, and orange.
I want to wander down cobbled streets.
I want a pain au chocolat at my corner boulangerie.
I want to play ping pong on the Champs de Mars.
I want to run in a field with a butterfly net. (And maybe catch one, too.)
I want to get lost in the countryside…me jeter dans l’inconnu.
I want to wander inside all of Paris’ little museums.
I want to explore the castles of the Loire.
I want to stand in a field of red poppies in Provence in the spring.
I want to look out the window of my old flat and see the Eiffel Tower.
I want to see the magnolias at Hôtel de Ville in their fluffy, low-hanging glory.
I want one last casual walk past Notre Dame and to hear the bell toll.
I want one last walk across the Pont de l’Alma and across Alexandre III.
I want to stop in at Bontemps for the tea I never had because pandemic.
I want one last tea at Lily of the Valley.
I want one last ride to Quai de la Rapée and one last walk down Boulevard Beaumarché.
I want one last visit to rue de Reims, a cappuccino on the Pavoni and a pain aux chocolat toasted in Sarah’s toaster.
I want one last marvel, one last wonder, one last revel in the place that was so unbearable to love but that I find unbearable to be without. In a city so rife with beauty, there was such brokenness, but in the brokenness, there was great joy.