The other night I was going through my travel journal and came across this poem. I wrote it while sitting in a bistro sipping (strong!) espresso to the soundtrack of French music and conversation. I was alone with my thoughts, an outsider but content in this warm, friendly atmosphere. It was the perfect Paris moment.
“The Stranger with the Cigarette”
She stands shivering in the chill, Paris-morning air,
smoking her cigarette,
surveying the indifferent street from above, huddled.
Her grey sweater, dull-green scarf, nondescript,
her face unreadable.
This tired Parisian, she looks my way.
I am an intruder.
Does the cafe’s glass obscure her view of the stranger unabashedly observing her?
I hold her gaze for only a moment,
look back to the street,
leaving her to her cigarette,
understanding the need for solace.
A glance back a minute later, and
this stranger with her cigarette,
who left a mark on my memory . . .
after only the briefest of moments.
These little moments are what truly inspire me. Life happens quickly, but every once in a while it slows down and gives us little gems, moments of connection.