People have asked about Paris, hoping for a delighted answer. I hoped to be able to give one too, but the trip wasn't quite like that.
Here's some of the story. It's funnier now, of course!
The warrior went brave into London battle -
the crowds, the noise, the messy sights
staged for the pleasures
of the fight and the arrival, the survival.
I’d been to Paris many times before,
hardly noticed the sense invasion,
shrugged it off, sank into my numbered seat
and smiled. This time, demented, I dropped
my guard and packed the warrior in the suitcase.
I gave her job to ‘assistance’, trusted they’d carry me through,
trusted I’d be held. But after an hour’s uneasy wait,
the man in dark uniform strode ahead,
not looking back to see if I was safe.
I wasn't even safe enough to feel, stop, scream.
The only safe one surfed the crowd;
I chased him, dragging the case.
The stifled warrior’s cries were
muffled by the clothes.
The crowd flooded the space.
I came out stripped. The warrior suffocated.
I locked my jaw, fixed on a steely grin,
clutched the case and followed the guard
to the place where he stopped,
engineered chairs and disappeared.
The warrior, calm, proud and dignified,
had broken. A husk of her
kept up the grin, but that was all.
Battles don’t get won with a grin.
And that was only the beginning:
no armour and a seven day week to go.
The sounds of Paris hurt. The grin grew, thin as a knifecut
in a finger. I could swear that tight grin bled.
Now I faced an inside battle with a brain that’s struggling.
I’d put this brain in danger, Me versus Paris via Eurostar,
the warrior lost and forgotten, shaking her bruised head.
The journey back was sweeter, the French guard kind and slow.
I’ve never felt so happy to be home.
Home swept me into her arms with a welcome I could trust.
The warrior can mend, maybe choose her battles better.
It would be so good to stay here, never leave again.
Now trust can mend in this quiet, with the songs of birds.
The warrior can breathe again and convalesce.
She can wait, heal and maybe learn
how to brave the world another time.