Jacqueline Cassidy '15, '16 MSM | January 17, 2019
I didn’t mean to fall asleep on the Eurostar, wanting to see the French countryside, but it was mostly all cows anyway — or that’s how I remember it. I meant to say that on the Eurostar the cows were worth mentioning because when I saw them I thought to write them, and still, even in that foreign place, wondered what it might be like if there were horses there instead. I believe I am very happy, but maybe I don’t want to be, and it is a case of chronic dissatisfaction.
When I was sure I was awake, I turned to my boyfriend and asked, “Where are we?” Matt patted my head in the way I imagined someone might pat a girl’s head in a children’s book (or at least when reading one to a child) and thought to note both. But spiraling anyway, head-being-pat, I fell again asleep, perhaps not ever fully awake, the cows or sheep now passing.
In Paris, Matt and I started a new game where we counted our steps, and on our first day we broke our records of 30,000 steps for those of us with small legs and 28,000 for those of bigger stature. We checked our step count maybe as proof of exhaustion, wanting a sign that our bodies were really as tired as they felt, mostly feeling it in the legs and feet.
We had earlier climbed the narrow staircase of Notre Dame Cathedral. We both agreed the cathedral felt a larger-scale Sacred Heart, which meant it was, in part, home, but also a cruel trick — because when you exited, you weren't really there.
Over the gargoyles and other stonework, rock cracking here and there under the weight of the centuries, we made our way upwards. I could tell Matt liked everything because he took pictures of it all, even things that were perhaps just signs or new supports that we didn’t know to be ancient. He took many portraits of me too, pausing around a stone or staircase, claiming I was pretty. And after seven years, I thought maybe it was him who was the artist after all.
We stayed up there waiting for the bells to ring. There was a brief minute when Matt and I were separated, and he was apart from me and I was lost.
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