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Paris to Nantes

“The Ouigo Train #7623 from Paris to Nantes that should have left at 2:24 p.m. will eventually leave… as soon as possible.”

I’m tired after our three-day trip in Paris, but the good kind of tired. We enjoyed new experiences and created plenty of happy memories, the kind that makes life meaningful—I hope Mark feels the same way. Still, we got up early, checked out, went for a walk then picked up the bags I had left at the hotel to go to the train station before mayhem. It’s early afternoon but I could take a nap right here, right now.

“Our train back to Nantes is at 2:24 p.m. at Montparnasse,” I emailed Feng last night. “And guess what, the right-wing anti-vaccine protest starts at 2:30 p.m. at Montparnasse. FML.”

We left early to avoid subway station closures and a large crowd of racist, unvaccinated protesters. We ended up waiting for over an hour in Montparnasse Hall 2 because our train was late anyway but hey, most travellers should be vaccinated at least.

And now Mark and I are both sitting in the train listening to music.

Mark is humming “Le vent nous portera.”

“Have you ever seen Noir Désir live in concert, mommy?”

“Didn’t get the chance. Then Cantat killed his wife and went to jail so…”

“He WHAT??”

“Never mind, don’t worry about.”

Sometimes I do forget I’m talking to an eight-year-old kid.

I rarely listen to music these days. The last time I did was probably in Floripa where Feng had made a playlist of our favourite songs.

How cute. The SNCF just texted me that the train I’m sitting in will be late. Oh yeah, thanks for letting me know we’re still stuck in Montparnasse, totally didn’t notice.

Ouigo trains—basically the low-cost train service—don’t come with free Wi-Fi. Since “oui go” nowhere for now and I can’t exactly work without an Internet connexion, I reach into my backpack and pull out my earbuds.

I love music. Why don’t I listen to music more often?

I browse through the Music folder and click play.

A tear is rolling down my cheek.

Ah, this is why.

This is the kind of upbeat music that makes people want to dance and sing along, why on earth am I crying?

Probably because it describes another world, the pre-pandemic world.

Suddenly I want to get into a mosh pit and jump around with thousands of complete strangers WITHOUT reaching for a bottle of hand sanitizer throughout the entire night.

I want to hang out a hostel lounge, slump onto a seat dozens of people use every day and that hasn’t been cleaned for years, listen to the random dude who is travelling with a guitar—there was always a random dude travelling with a guitar—and share my most private thoughts and theories with people I’ll part ways with in the morning and will never see again.

No cinco da madrugada a gente vai procurer

No cinco da madrugada o bixo vá pegar

Porque morre a noite, não sei não sei não sei

Por donde saldra el sol, no sé no sé no sé

Central America comes to mind right now, I’m picturing Feng and I in a chicken bus, time is irrelevant, we’ll get there eventually, we have no idea where we’re going to spend the night anyway, or what our destination looks like and where we will be a day, a week, a month from now.

I want to roam around the world freely. I don’t want to read the news and have global issues explained to me by people in newsrooms thousands of kilometres away from the issue they are writing about. I want to chat with random people and learn how they live their life.

I have to stop crying, this is embarrassing. I wish I could get up and dance, shout or scream, start a huge party right there.

Can I?

Probably not. Tweeting about the train being late or joining the “I hate the SNCF” Facebook group is the accepted way to express feelings these days.

O minho destino é viajar
Yo no soy de ningun lugar

“Mark… What are listening to?”

“Crowded House.”

“Which one?”

“Distant sun.”

“Depressing enough. Perfect. Let’s share my earbuds.”

Rue Esquirol, Paris
Rue Esquirol, Paris
Gare Montparnasse, Hall 2, Paris
Gare Montparnasse, Hall 2, Paris
Gare Montparnasse, Hall 2, Paris
Gare Montparnasse, Hall 2, Paris
Gare Montparnasse, Hall 2, Paris
Gare Montparnasse, Hall 2, Paris
Paris to Nantes
Paris to Nantes
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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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