Thursday, July 12, 2012


The trip thus far has been lovely.  Meetings productive.  Hotels luxurious.  Walks beautiful and never-too-far.  I'm far below budget, sleeping reasonably well and finding delicious treats.

The bittersweet component comes in bursts - firecracker swift and loud and startling.  We were discussing healthcare last night over dinner.  I was savoring my roast chicken, already looking forward to chocolate cake, and the topic turned to affordable healthcare.

"That's fine in theory," I replied after it was said that some procedures return too little on the investment.  "But as I'm losing my Dad, I could see myself going up to and including murder to keep him just one more day when we reach the end.  It's just a visceral, human response to losing someone you love."

The conversation continued  and I reached past my wine glass for my water, needing the Evian to soothe my throat and found my hands were shaking too badly to risk raising the glass.  So I stared out the front window at the darkening French evening and helplessly prayed the moment would pass. 

On our walk back to the hotel, Adam and I chatted companionably and remarked over various items professional and pretty.  Placing my flats carefully on the uneven cobblestones between the perfectly manicured trees lining our rue, I debated but finally asked if my probational period was close to ending.

"What?" he asked and I wondered if he was stalling or simply tipsy and tired.

"The plan," I explained impatiently.  "You say I've done well.  I think I've done well.  So when is this over?"  And I nodded when he indicated there was one task remaining and that it was more his fault than mine that we'd not yet checked off that list.  We said goodnight and I moved into my room, kicking off my silver shoes and slipping out of my sweater that covered the plunging neckline of my dress.

"You're fine," I told myself soothingly, but the sense of failure - of shame and pitiful misery - left me breathless.  It took me several hours before I could relax into sleep, leaving me to skip this morning's optional meetings so I could rest.  (Which is probably indicative of my overall problem and why this probational period happened at all.)

I made the three hour journey to the airport - by foot then train then foot again.  Ridiculously proud of my financially and environmentally friendly commute, I grabbed my ticket, cleared security and found a spot for lunch. 

As I waited for my quiche to warm, I shifted my dessert and drink and said a quick but fervent prayer that Dad's oncology appointment would go well today.  That I'd find my professional path and move on it a bit more easily.  That the woman begging on the train and people with real problems feel love and mercy and comfort. 

Now, CDG, despite my frequent criticism, is giving me free internet as I wait to depart to Amsterdam.  (I just don't love this airport though - in all fairness - it's perfectly nice.)  I've not been there so my brain should be bathed in new sights and sounds and smells for the next couple of days before returning to spend some time with my parents. 

I do hope you're all well - that there's far more sweet than bitter in your stories of the day. 

1 comment:

Comrade Physioprof said...

Why didn't you just take the high-speed train from Paris to Amsterdam? It's direct city-center-to-city-center, it's only just over three hours, and it's so much more civilized than flying.

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