From our window in this new place, we can see the top half of the Grande Roue in the Jardin des Tuileries. Far off, lit white every night, shining like an archway of diamonds or stars.
I remember riding it with you, one night a few months after we met. Afraid of heights, I still took your hand and got into a seat. The rise to the summit was slower and less shaky than I’d thought it would be.
What a view at the top, with the the Sacre Coeur to our right, like a small souvenir sculpture on a shelf. When we looked down or outward in any direction, we could see all the lights of Paris. We could see forever.
What stays in my memory is not just these sights, but this accomplishment. I don’t know if I could go back on the Grande Roue. I think I’d be too afraid, despite knowing it would be all right, despite knowing about the view.
Tonight when I return home, you tell me I look beautiful. The autumn wind has reddened my cheeks. My hair falls just so on my shoulders – “The perfect length!” – you exclaim. Your eyes are shining in the new apartment’s dim light.
And then there’s dinner to make and the cat’s visit with the vet to discuss. A pot of boiling water overflows and I hurry to turn off the stove. Your happiness is the flickering lamp in the living room. “Maybe you looked beautiful before because you weren’t stressed,” you remark.
Your words hurt more than boiling water. They well up from something I can’t fix so easily as turning a switch.
Later, I wake up and walk over to the window. I gaze across the rooftops, to where I can see the top half of the Grande Roue in the Jardin des Tuileries.