In honor of the anniversary of the Paris bombings and the hope that peace, kindness, respect and harmony will light the path of our future; despite our differences and even when we fail to agree. This was first published on Bonvivant+Bebe.
Hello Paris. It has been a while since we've seen each other. The last time we were together, aside from time spent with my then lover, what I remember most was a day trip to the Louvre. Years have passed since that afternoon on my own and a great distance has grown between us like oceans and mountains - vast and huge. Much has happened and changed - my lover has passed on and I am happily married with two beautiful children and a mortgage. Reflecting on that day at the Louvre, with full-sensory recall, I remember a pyramid-side lunch (Nutella, banana crepes), the periodic trickle of rain on my skin, the fragrant breeze drifting from the woman to my right (smells of Chanel No. 5 - typical yet gloriously familiar), the en Francais murmur of a busy city. The highlighted exhibit escapes me, the exact Picasso I tilted my head at or the surrealist photos that made me giggle and blush are now a blur. Oh but how I missed the Mona Lisa and like every other art lover I felt compelled to pay her a visit - that is crystal clear.
Amidst the crowds, with popular tunes of the day in my ears to drown out the museum sound, I stood and well stared at her. I like to think I gazed (sounds more romantic), nevertheless it was in fact a stare. Where was I out of my body, while my eyes fixed on her? I think I floated above us all and with new eyes wondered how she felt with all the strangers and passers-by watching her, considering her, admiring her. What were they so curious about? When they walked away from her, leaving her on that big wall all alone, did they, we, I have a better understanding of who she is/was/represents? I considered her smile. Like a prematurely aging woman - slightly cracked skin around a subtle yet undeniable acknowledgement of joy, pleasure, grace. Why she smiles, I reconciled I'd perhaps never really know - the reasons lay in Da Vinci's imagination more than her manifestation. Try as some might to uncover it's root in the skeletal remains of Lady Lisa, it'd be a futile attempt. And tres bizarre.
Oh Paris, as I reminisce of you then I admit to shying away from visions of today. If I don't look do you not exist? Of course no. Is it my naivite I wish to protect or my understanding of you I claim rights to preserve? I hope as the world stands around you, our arms stretching over the time, space and motion only real unity can deny, that you know we see your essence. We are entranced by you, petite Mona Lisa. We are not distracted by the grand floor-to-ceiling battlefield painting to your left. Instead, we are fixed heavily on that tilting mouth and when we are not in your presence, despite our differences, we can't help but think of you fondly.