In the streets of Paris it is somehow easy to tell tourists from immigrants and locals. Not so easy to distinguish born Parisians from Parisians of adoption. The histories of those who made her their home are as varied as the men and women who awake in the morning looking up to the sky ready to go about their day, building more of the myth of Paris in their hearts. Paris is reinvented every time a pair of new eyes explore her. Below are the eyes of Celestyna.
She was too stiff and tired to be excited. After almost 27 hours in a bus, Paris did not look much different from Warsaw. The ugly bus terminal of Gallieni lay almost under the ring road overpass, on the east side of the city.
It did not matter to her. She was going to count every minute of her 48 hour adventure, to live her own dream. Where would she begin? She realized that she had not planned her sightseeing. She remembered the photos she searched on Instagram of the Seine, the Tour Eiffel and the white onion domes of a church that to her looked like the mosque across the street from her home in Ursynow.
After having dropped her bag at the tiny room of her hotel near Gare du Nord, an uncommon sensation invaded her: she felt happy as she never had before, not in the way of her small happiness back in Poland, when on Saturday she proudly walked the streets hand in hand with Jurek. This was different: she was giving herself to the emotion of belonging to that dreamed of city. And with the help of her street map she ended up on the Champs-Elysées and there, the city unveiled for her, her insatiable seduction. She was spellbound. She continued to the Tuileries and the Louvre and there she remembered that she had not used her phone camera and began taking pictures. A close up of one of the Louvre facades at sunset, brought her feelings to a climax. She knew she belonged there, the river was calling her name and the future had an inevitability linked to the panoramas glanced for the first time.
Later that evening her cousin, Agnieszka, after finishing her work shift at a hotel, took her to a bistro in Montmartre for dinner. They ended up on the dance floor of a stuffy club and she did not realize it was 5am. when she ended up in bed with a French boy.
On the return coach ride, as she was trying to make herself comfortable to doze, Celestyna pulled her phone out of her purse and looked again at the pictures she had taken. She deleted two pictures of the boy she met and one of her cousin grimacing at the camera. She smiled contentedly at the shots of the Tuileries and Notre-Dame. She was still startled at having discovered the deepest longing of her life. Yes, she would be back to reclaim the city.