A fresh day in September. Crisp yet warm, grey and loving. I’m walking briskly to Musée D’Orsay . The Seine flowing beside me, so graceful and calm. I feel content. My thoughts are flowing with it into a meaningful and crisp direction. I let the smells and sounds of an autumn day wrap around me. Crossing the bridge, the wind picks up. I stop briefly in the middle to admire the view; everything is still, you can hear the newly dead autumn leaves hitting the pavement. I listen.
Not allowing myself to slip into a daze, I continue walking. Something shines into the corner of my eye. It’s laying on the pavement–I recognize it’s a wedding band. Its golden reflection toying with the sun. A few steps in front of me an elderly couple is strolling across the bridge. Before I can call-out “Monsieur! Madame!” I feel a gentle pull. As I turn around, I meet her gaze. Her crow black eyes are squinting into the sun. The lines in her face are so deeply rooted, reflecting the journeys she has traveled and the pain that she has met. Her velvet skirt and silk blouse loosely drape her hunching body. She smiles and pushes the wedding band into my hand, asking me if the ring is mine. I answered that it is not and turn around to gesture at the elderly couple. She shrugs her shoulders, squints tighter, and pushes the ring into my hand–for good luck. I glance into her eyes, feeling sterile warmth. Unsure of my thoughts I accept the ring and run towards the elderly couple. They would be so glad to know I found their wedding band.
I feel another tug. It’s her. She leans closer to my face and asks me for some change–good luck for her. She chuckles. I hastily reach into my wallet, explaining to her that I intend to give the ring back to the owners. I put 3 Euros in her hand, for her good-intentions. She pushes closer into me, grabbing tighter of my forearm, and asks for more. Her hands grow colder and her brown eyes deeper. I gasp in silence and step back. Pushing the ring back into her hand, watching as it steals the sunshine from the change. Fuming inside, I turn around and walk away. On the other side, at the red light, I stand drenched in humiliation. My naive nature gave me away.
Green light. I start walking, realizing that I am suddenly smiling at myself. It was there, in the autumn day of Paris, in midst of the cold and warm wind, I realize that I still believe in kindness and goodness of people–in good luck; in selfless gestures; and in child-like stupidity.