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By Chiman Salih
One month into my admission into the university, the college administration held a special reception full of fun for the newcomers in one of the pavilions. A game of luck try was happening. I got in, removed a folded paper and opened it to reveal two sentences sounding as if they were a part of great literature. They caught my imagination and mind and touched my heart.
Take a scarf to be a Parisian. Go on the Nile to be Nefertiti.
I felt astonished by how those words related to me.
I was on my first trip to Paris. The scarf mattered.
Finally, the airplane started to go down through clouds and land in the city of light. I arrived in the city through Charles de Gaulle airport, to reach the heart of the beautiful, breathtaking city. Petrichor emanated from the wet ground and maple trees. After taking some rest, I surveyed the luxurious shops beside me and spotted beautifully colored scarves in one of them. I entered the shop and purchased several varicolored scarves. I folded the purple one around my forehead to embark on the dream tour in the dream city.
I sensed Baudelaire walking right beside me. He had described me as aflâneuse in Paris. He recounted how he had materialized the beauty and modernity and fashion in an outstanding masterpiece and authored flâneur.
I sensed the raindrops hitting my cheeks. At the corner, a lanky young boy gave me an umbrella with a transparent canopy.
After walking for a while and viewing amazing sceneries on both sides of the way, the rain grew heavier. I had to enter a café shop to escape the torrential rain and rest. I ate a brunch meal of a tasty pancake with Nutella chocolate as the weather brightened, then I prepared for the next part of my sweet journey.
I passed amazing architectures, happy lovers, tourists from around the world conveying different visages, fallen leaves, musicians, painters, vendors, and views from the Seine River and Eiffel Tower. I reached the historical site of the Cathedral Notre Dame. I knew the crowd, chatting and laughing, were queues waiting their turn to enter the cathedral.
Everybody in the crowd stood under umbrellas just like mine, and the vendors sold different colored berets. Every woman donned a beret or was purchasing one. Most of them selected berets matching their own scarf colors. Men focused more on holding the umbrellas and using their cameras.
I took a purple beret too.
I beheld the crowd’s beauty, resembling a garden of colorful tulips—a row of different beret colors on the head and bright scarves around the neck or folded to handbags, transparent umbrellas protecting against the rain but the raindrops still viewed when they bounced from the top. The most magical part was the blue sky, making the upper ground of the live encaustic and integrated the beauty of the set. The cathedral also towered over the colorful, happy mob.
I fell into meditation, imagining the stunning spectacle around me.
I wondered about weather—if nature lent its beauty to human beings in this place or vice versa?
I indulged in a secret heart-to-heart interview with Victor Hugo.
“Salute, Mr. Hugo.”
“Bienvenue, a Paris madame,” he answered in a soft voice and Parisian classy style.
“If you came back to life, would you write The Hunchback of Notre Dame again?”
“Oui, bien sûr. But this time, I will give a different role to Quasimodo. It’s the role of the scarf and beret vendor in front of the cathedral.” It sounded like he had marveled at the scene too.
“Might that soften La Esmerelda’s heart too?”
“Undoubtedly,” he answered.
“Merci beaucoup, M. Hugo.”
“Come back again, madame.”