Although we left on December 23rd, we arrived on December 24th. While we didn’t spend the day in Pari since we were spending the day dealing with lost luggage and checking in, by the time we were walking out the door for dinner, everything was closed. It wasn’t that it was late, it was that we were looking for a restaurant open around 8 pm on Christmas Eve.
My mom and I were scouring the city, walking down the winding streets looking at every restaurant with disappointment as our hunger grew. We would get excited when we saw a restaurant and then immediately feel disappointed as we approached the black windows and locked doors.
My mom was determined to find us a wonderful French dinner for Christmas Eve. I was determined at this point to eat and sleep, I missed Jake and I was tired of walking down the streets aimlessly when it seemed to me very obvious that we would not be eating anytime soon.
My hunger was coming out in anger at my mom as I was telling her ANYTHING would work for dinner. This, of course, made my mom sad and upset and put a damper on what to me was already quite a disappointing evening. She started sulking a few feet a head of me and I rolled my eyes so hard I could swear I saw my brain. When I started looking straight ahead again I saw it out of the corner of my eye “Restaurant” In neon lights. I turned to look and I could see inside, there were lights and customers. It was gorgeous.
“Mom! Look!” I pointed at the wonderful mirage I had just seen.
“Let’s look at the menu,” she said as she walked over to the door.
What does the menu matter? It’s the only place open! I thought as I silently followed her.
“It’s American food,” she said as if we were ourselves not American and disgusted with the idea.
“SOOOO. It’s Christmas Eve and we are in Paris! We shouldn’t have a burger. We should be eating at a steak at a French restaurant.”
“Ok, but mom, this is the only place open.”
“We don’t know that. Let’s keep looking. It’s Paris nothing closes.” She said Paris as if she was saying magic. It’s MAGIC nothing closes. We are in MAGIC.
“Ok, but I’m starving.”
“We will find something.”
My mom turned and started walking towards another street that we hadn’t gone down yet. I turned to follow her with a loving look at the restaurant we were turning away from as though I was in a movie being pulled away from my love. Soon I was beside my mom, but we didn’t dare speak. I was so hangry, I was sure I might yell if I tried to speak at all. She was mad that I wasn’t chipper and in a great mood. We walked, and we walked, and we walked, and found nothing. But in some miracle we walked right back to the restaurant we had turned away from earlier.
“Mom, can we eat? Nothing is open.”
“Fine, let’s eat.”
We walked into the restaurant that was decorated as an American diner and sat down on the silicon booth.
My mom disappointedly ordered a sandwich and I ordered the burger faster than I could have possibly ever ordered before. Luckily, our waitress spoke English.
My mom was upset with her sandwich and my burger had an egg on it. Nothing was great, but it was food and we were starving. We scarfed down the food and began to head back to our hotel to finally go to sleep. With my hunger now gone, I was just exhausted, and now all I wanted to do was call Jake. Instead of focusing on food my mind was now focusing on missing him and it took awhile for me to realize that suddenly none of our surroundings were familiar.
We were lost.
While we had been on our hunt for food we hadn’t paid attention to any of the streets we turned on or how far we had gone from the hotel. There were no Taxis and we didn’t dare try to use the metro when we didn’t really know where our hotel even was.
Now, we were walking with a new purpose, find our hotel, but it was as aimless as our restaurant hunt. I was following my mom who kept pretending that she knew where she was, but I noticed that we had seen the same building at least three times.
“Mom, why don’t I lead? I think I know the way.” I lied, but I knew that she was only going to keep going in the same direction. She begrudgingly let me lead the way.
I had us walking now not in circles, but still aimlessly when we came across a gorgeous church.
“Look! Tori! It’s Notre Dame!” my mom was thrilled.
“Wow!” I was suddenly thrilled and looked up at the cathedral. It was gorgeous and stone, but nothing like the pictures I had seen.
“Mom, I don’t think that is Notre Dame.” I looked at the connecting arches remembering all the pictures I had seen of Notre Dame and convincing myself that this was in fact not Notre Dame.
“No, it is.” My mom started snapping pictures of the church which was surrounded by the black night sky.
I let mom finish taking pictures and continued walking down the street I had randomly turned on earlier. It wasn’t long, only 10 or 15 minutes after the fake Notre Dame sighting, when we saw it.
Hotel Du Louvre in bright lights.
OUR HOTEL! We had made it. My mom and I hugged and started laughing about how fun it had been to be lost. Funny how it’s fun to be lost AFTER you are found. We walked into our hotel went straight to our room and straight to bed.
I started thinking of Jake and my prepaid phone card. Should I call him? No, it was too late to call. I needed to sleep. I was thinking of him and missing him as I drifted off to sleep.