Four hours in Paris.
It sounds romantic for sure. Probably a poem in there somewhere. And I want to write that poem now, as we sit at the Charles de Gaulle. We’re so close to home. Home. I had searched for it for so long, and there it was within me. Visiting my mom in Alexandria, I was home. Seeing friends in Minneapolis, I was home. Now, with the one I love, we are heading home. I want to write that poem that gives thanks for the comfort of three. Write that poem that breathes the gathered in, the welcomed, the joyful, the weary. Write that poem that stands in harbors, lights up cities, covers in warmth. But between the jet and the lag, my brain is as foggy as March in Paris. How could I write that poem?
In the movie, Ol’ Gringo, Gregory Peck tells Jane Fonda, he, in fact, could write such a powerful poem.
Peck: Oh, when I was little more than a child, I dreamt I would do things that would change the world, and one night when I was about sixteen, I promised a girl that I would do something grand, something really grand, that would make it impossible for her not to love me, and that afterwards, I would come back to her.
“What is it, exactly, that you would do?” she asked.
I would write the most beautiful poem that anybody had ever written, a poem that would make people cry with happiness, love with desperation, make them feel they understand the meaning of their existence on this earth.
“Oh, no, you cannot write that poem”, she said, “nobody can”.
I said “Wait.”
“For how long?” she answered.
Since I was little more than a child and every hour seemed filled with limitless possibilities, I…I told her “just for a short while.”
I wrote for fifty years. I wrote every day of my life, without exception. I wrote and wrote. I wrote during long nights of insomnia. I wrote in foreign countries, in newsrooms, full of enemies. I wrote while my youth drifted by, while love betrayed me.
Many years ago, I forgot her face.
The exact color of her eyes.
The precise line of her mouth.
But today, with my back against that wall, I saw you.
And I knew that you were she.
And that the only place on earth I could have written that poem would have been in your arms.
Perhaps in the arms of Paris, I will write that poem. But today, it is enough to simply sigh, and know that I am home.