Paris

Some of the things my dryer squeaks at me are laughable. For example, “Take a passport, take a passport!” This was followed the next day by, “Read a French book, read a French book.”

I’m not sure why most things are repeated twice but it does serve to emphasize the words, as if there is a sense of urgency I dare not ignore.

Wouldn’t it seem that being told to take a passport, trailed by Read a French book, would imply something? An impending trip perhaps.

Personally, I don’t think I should be allowed to travel abroad. Anyone whose home grows cobwebs long enough to jump rope with is not to be trusted on foreign soil.

Still, I can see me lollygagging in this quaint Paris hotel room. Any cobwebs I might spy wouldn’t be my responsibility would they? I might make mention of it to the young woman who knocks on my door every day to clean. I can see the two of us standing together with craned necks peering up at the unsightly cobweb, foreheads crinkled in mutual consternation.

She would tsk briskly and hurry from the room to fetch a broom. Instantly I would regret my complaint. She can’t be expected to see every dust bunny and cobweb! Think of how many rooms she must be responsible for every day. Regret fills me with the impulse to show her a kindness. When she returns with the broom and knocks down the offending cobweb, we exchange a smile and I press into her hand a piece of candy I’ve been hoarding. The gold foil shines in the palm of her hand as she begins to speak, but I wave off her protest because I can afford to feel magnanimous with all that my quaint little room does for my tired soul.

This is the thing about my squeaky dryer, it gets me to thinking. You can see how one thought on its own might not be much but it leads to another, and then before I know what’s what I’ve woven together a little story that feels so authentic I have to remind myself it’s not a memory.

I’m already grieving that room in Paris with the windows that open inwards, and a twilight so purpled and star-studded that it makes me gasp with delight the first time I see it.