Elysian Memories

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.

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The way the Champs Élysées used to look

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10 thoughts on “Elysian Memories

  1. The detail of the annoyed waiter was a nice touch; especially considering the narrator needed it to complete the tribute to her husband. I love the image of umbrellas spilling out onto the street, too.

  2. Ah yes, the Champs Élysées are a bit more… shoppy now. But apart from that (and the fact that there are usually more cars and people) I don’t think they’ve changed too much. You should see the marché de Noël there though, it’s magic 🙂

    • Thanks imab00kworm! The comment under the photo was meant to be from my character’s point of view as I set my story (although it may not be obvious) fifty years in the future. The photo was taken in 2010 – I think I waited until there were no cars to take it. I agree the Christmas markets are lovely! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Sophie

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