Friday, January 2, 2009

Clementines

A winter day in Paris, early 1991.  Shopping the marché rue de Buci in the 6eme arrondissement with my mom, on the prowl for impromptu breakfast to go.  Warm pain aux raisins, light and soft and sticky; seasonal clementines, tiny orbs of sunshine in our cold hands.  I was living there at the time, a student and also working as a "stagière" (intern) in the European headquarters of a software industry association.  My mom came to visit for a while, keeping at bay any homesickness, giving a respite from the constant efforts of negotiating another language, another culture.  She and I set out for a day trip.  Leaving the Gare Saint Lazare on a train bound for Rouen, we settled in for one of the most memorable meals of my life: the richness of the pastry cut by the juicy sweet tang of citrus; an explosion of taste inside our mouths as we bit the fruit, released it from its skin; exclaiming "Mmm..." and "Ooooh..." and "Look!" as the French landscape rolled by outside the window.  The rhythmic clicking of the tracks, and a small bagged breakfast passed back and forth between us.  It was a rare moment of knowing, in the moment itself, that we were blessed with the best life had to offer.  In the simplicity of our meal and the complex comfort of our being together, a lifelong memory—a touchstone—was created.

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