Sunday, 3 February 2013


Wanderlust lives in my bones, the way Winter does, and words. It’s a quiet kind of ache, usually, a sweet sort of pain. But there are times – and today is one of them – when it becomes a pressing need, and I burn with longing. I keep thinking Paris, I keep thinking leave. I itch for a suitcase fatly packed with clothes. I yearn for the tidy order of  departure: the stamp in the passport, the buckling in, and then the peanuts and the tiny wine bottle, and the streams of cloud at the round window.

I’ve been to Paris three times in the last eighteen months. Part of me thinks that with so many countries and cities on my wishlist, I should go somewhere new before going back there again. But just thinking of it makes my heart lift.

It’s hard to explain why I love it so much. It’s not just one thing, it’s everything. It’s the food, and the brusque poetry of the accent, and the windows piled with tiers of macaroons and expensive silks. It’s the clean white apartment buildings with slanting tile roofs and painted shutters and flowers brimming from the ledges. It’s the high, tight streets of Montmartre, and the painters in the parks, and the fact that everyone, but everyone, carries a fresh baguette in a brown paper bag. It’s the Eiffel Tower in her elegant supermodel poise; the way she glitters at night like a hundred thousand stars brought to a single point.

It’s the only place in the world where I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time all the time.

Perhaps wanderlust is the wrong word for what I feel today. Homesickness would maybe be more precise. A desperate wish to return to the place where I fit so perfectly. Where every cell of my body hums at the same exquisite frequency, right along with the singular music of the language.

There will be other days for those beautiful white beaches brushed by palm trees. Those flaring ribbons of Northern light. There will be other times for the roundly-smiling golden Buddhas and the emerald temples with fabulous spires.
The heart wants what the heart wants. And right now, this heart wants Paris.