No good connecting flights. I have to spend a night in Paris on the way to another city.

Memories rush. Feelings follow.

It’s just one night. It will be fine. How different can it be from every other night that I miss you?

Did the same thing happen to you the last time you saw Paris? Did you drown in that whirlpool of what was, and what could have been, and what ifs?

I book my flight.

Remember the last time I booked a flight to Paris. Joy. Love. Hope. Promise.

I pack for the trip.

Memories. Packing for another trip. Eager to meet you. Another trip. You dragging my heavy bag up that hill, and still smiling at the end of it. Another trip. You stuffing my backpack till it is bursting. Another trip. You, so much you!

I get to the airport.

The check in queue the last time. Translating for you. Racing for flights. Long hugs goodbye.

On the flight.

Memories. More memories. Hands. Eyes. Caresses so tender. Eyes so sweet. Hands. Eyes. Hands that wave goobye. Eyes that don’t really see through the tears.

The stewardess offers me wine.

Remember how you threw out that bottle of wine you thought I didn’t like. I loved that wine, I told you later. Remember? Remember the other time, your dad saying ‘une fille á toi’ when he emptied the last of the wine bottle in my glass. Hmm…

I see faces engrossed, people watching in flight movies.

I don’t watch movies on flights anymore. I just play the memory games when I’m not flooded with memories of you. One day this will stop too.

5 hours of the flight are done. I’m glad. I’ll be in Paris soon.

Paris. Our first meeting. The first time our hands touched. That first time our lips met. The first time you called me baby. The first time we walked hand in hand along The Champs Élysées. The first time…

We’re circling to land. Some people are looking out the window. Maybe lovers visiting Paris for the first time. Maybe Parisians glad to be home.

Me? I prepare myself to face Paris alone. I prepare for another flood of memories. I prepare for ‘the city of love’ without love.

The plane touches down. We get off. Life gets busy again. Border control queues and baggage belts. Strangers meeting friends and loved ones. Some tourists marching off on their own, some in groups. The airport bustles with activity. Vibrant Paris calls.

I move towards the exit. The doors open. The crisp Paris air fills my lungs. You’re not there. But it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m okay.

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