Chain of Memories

As I travelled at full speed through the tunnels of the metro, I only had one sight in mind. Every year I took the same journey, it was my very own pilgrimage.I had waited a long time for this, and my impatience had started getting out of control on the plane a few hours ago. Now that I was thinking about the city I could not wait until my usual stop. As soon as the automatic doors would scream ‘freedom’ I would jump for it. I had to see the April sun shining over the stairway to Montmartre. I had to let my nostrils embrace the smell of the freshly baked croissants waiting in the bakeries. I had to make one with the city, just like it used to be. The metallic doors opened and I started running. The businessmen held on strongly to their suitcases, by fear of getting mugged. A running man is never a good sign in the tunnels of the metro. Here they were, the final steps that would lead me up to the lively streets of the city. I sprinted up the stairs and could feel the sunbeams caressing my face. I took a look at my surroundings. I did not mind the cigarettes being thrown on the pavement, they were a sign of the things that had been. Some of these could have been mine, even though I doubted it. It had been a year since I had walked those streets. The Eiffel Tower was facing me now, but that was not what I was looking for. Tourists come for her, but when you have lived in the city you merely put up with her. The green park around it, the champs de mars, is where I wanted to be. The grass that had seen me grow up, been walked on by my friends and I during the long days of summer a few years ago.

I took my shoes off and my feet made one again with the warm grass, my toes massaging the earth, bringing its vital energy all across my body. Instinctively, my right hand started playing with the silver chain around my neck. It was not the first time, my fingers would hold onto the cold metal every now and then, but I would never really pay much attention to it anymore. However, something that day made me stop for a second and think back about the chain. It had been over seven years now, and going back to the night the chain had been put around my neck for the first time was still an almost unbearable experience. Since then, it seemed like every link of the chain represented one of my memories, as if once they had started to fade they would go rest in peace in their silver coffin. The brain works in funny ways, and I probably conditioned myself to forget most of my memories after that night, but I could feel the connection between the past and the chain whenever I would place my fingers on it.

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