Going Home

The taxi to the airport arrived promptly at 7 AM. It is Sunday morning, it’s still dark outside and I don’t want to leave.

I know this routine well. I’ve done it many times and it’s always the same: a sense of melancholy brought on by my impending departure, juxtaposed with joyful satisfaction at the wonderful opportunity I’ve had to spend a month in Paris.

We load my bags into the trunk and head for Charles de Gaulle. It rained last night and roads are still damp. The reflection of oncoming headlights glistens on the pavement. After a short drive along the périphérique, the flow of traffic comes to a crawl. Eventually, we pass a badly damaged vehicle upside down in the middle of the road. The driver comments, “ahh, un petit accident.”

I smile at his comment. In my view, this accident is anything but “petit,” but the use of the word is so French. It's a subtle reminder of how the French take what life throws at them in stride. The moment reminds me of another occasion in which I noted the unexpected use of the word. I was in college and heading to class. I learned that my metro line was shut down due to “un petit suicide.”

The driver and passengers of the vehicle were standing on the side of the road. Everyone seemed fine. We continued on our way. My flight and the remainder of the trip went as smoothly as possible.

It feels great to be home, but I know that in short order I will be anxious to return to Paris


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