You were nothing but kind to me. Feeling vulnerable in the dead of night, you showed me safety. You showed me sun when my own skies were dark. You showed me beauty when all I could see was ugliness.
I didn't appreciate you. I blamed you. I wanted to step through your gates and start fresh. I wanted you to make me over new. But, every time I turned a corner you reminded me of who I used to be and who I had become. I wasn't that different than the lonely 15-year-old girl who had wandered your street so many years ago. She was just starting to realize how disappointing the world can be. And, there I was - almost two decades later - having allowed that utter disappointment to push me down.
I cursed you. It will be better somewhere else I thought angrily as my train sped out of your city limits. But, the cool blue salt water of paradise only stung the wounds you'd helped reopen. I realized if I covered them up and kept running they would never heal. So, I laid on the sharp rocky shore and exposed them to the scorching sun. Then I dove in again and again and again. Each time deeper than the last. Until, finally, it didn't sting quite so badly.
Photo from ESI
I wanted to show you that I'm healing quite nicely. This time, I wanted to walk your streets with my head held high. Alone but not lonely. Confident and composed. Light and free.
And, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for showing me hospitality. Thank you for showing me truth and possibility. Thank you for showing me true beauty. You're so much more than a glossy postcard would have one believe.
Until we meet again, Paris.