Felice Shapiro is a writer, entrepreneur, and publisher as well as the founder of Better After 50, a weekly online magazine. In addition to being a teacher and avid runner, hiker, and yogi, she is an AARP contributor.
I hadn’t seen her in so long, I kept imagining what it would be like to walk and just be in her hold. She always had my heart. So much young love and discovery had happened because I had gone to her. Each time I visited, she would awaken those sweet memories of early mornings wrapped in her clutches.
When people spoke ill of her I always came to her defense. She has often been described as “cold,” “clipped,” and “unwelcoming”–but not for me. I would melt into her language and the sweet smells of her morning coffee. I felt so energized with her and I liked myself best when I was with her. Somehow my voice sounded softer and more melodic when I spoke her language and my sensuality awoke.
I was thrilled that I would have yet another chance to see her again.
It was my mom’s 80th birthday and her vision was to take her four daughters on a trip. We discussed several ideas and to my surprise she chose Paris. Amazingly, my four sisters, all BA50′s, were able to clear family and work obligations and set aside six days to be together. What a feat! That in and of itself is usually the obstacle to pulling off a reunion of any sort. But, our motivation was to honor our mom and after all, she did offer to “take us to Paris.”
I decided to visit a day early, before the rest of the group. After all, Paris and I had our own special relationship that I wanted to savor alone, without distraction. She was my paramour.
I arrived in the pouring rain and as the taxi pulled up to the front of my hotel, the skies cleared. My welcome mat was laid out. In less than an hour I was eating baguettes with sweet butter and jam and easing into familiar comforts.
It was my junior year abroad when I fell in love for the first time —not only with Paris, but with a Parisian boy, his family and his friends. The rush of images of dinners on Rue Jacob, the cafés on Rue du Bac, incessant political debates and the excitement of a new language falling easily from my lips now channels youth into my veins.