The sun is threatening to break through the clouds. For the first time in a long time, I can see blue sky around me. Autumn turns into winter. The auburn hue is replaced by bare trees and the soft light from a sun hugging the southern horizon. I am in Paris. The City of Lights. The most romantic place in the world. For in Paris I always fall in love. In love with myself. In love with the city. In love with life. And yet. I am closed off to love. Romantic has been replaced by poetic. Weakened. Diminished. I had first noticed the change a few weeks ago. I was with R in Durham. We were strolling along the river in the fading light. The world was bathed in colour. Red. Black. Orange. Grey. It was romantic. I called it poetic.
With every ounce of energy, I fought against the word. Romantic. It is an elevating word. It brings forth a meaning and an intent beyond friendship when spoken between two people. It opens up the possibility of love. Of romance. A possibility that I have been resisting for several years. Fear had become me. Afraid of loving as I did before. Afraid of hurting as I did before. The loss was too great. Paris brought me back to life. Romance pours out of the very soul of Paris. Atop a barge on the Seine, looking out across at the Louvre, I felt at peace with myself again. Everything was going to be okay.