The Champs Élysées was bustling and hot. People barged past us tutting loudly. We blocked their path to the metro station, their only way home now there are no cars. I rested on my cane and looked at the Disney Store. I couldn’t believe it was still there. So much had changed yet this was the same.
“So is this the place Mum?” My daughter asked.
“Yes,” I said. I could feel the heat getting to me, my legs felt wobbly. The hand on my cane began to shake.
That day had been much like this one – the heat beating down and the sky clear blue. I had left work early so that I could buy some make up on the way. Thinking I had better make the effort. Thinking that this blind date would be another waste of time. I dawdled but still arrived a few minutes early. Basking in the sun and standing under the Disney sign I had waited for him to arrive. A hot day in May had been a rarity back then.
A woman in a hurry brushed past me and I took a step forward, suddenly unstable. My daughter caught me before I fell.
“Come on mum, let’s go and get a drink.”
We walked towards the Rue Franklin D. Roosevelt where we found a café, bright umbrellas spilling out onto the pavement. I asked for a Champagne cocktail – Champagne and Pimm’s. It wasn’t on the menu. The waiter looked irritated but they made it for me.
I raised the glass and toasted my husband with the first drink we’d ever had together, fifty years ago today. I leant back enjoying the champagne fizz on my tongue. The sun on my legs was pleasant now and my daughter’s hand had found mine.