Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crammed with shoes

It was still raining. Paris was gray, dirty, and confused — a nightmare. It was crammed with people who had no idea where they were going; crammed with streets, the ones around les Halles where people slipped on rotting vegetables; crammed with shop windows that were crammed with shoes. It was the first time he'd noticed all the shoe stores, the hundreds and hundreds of pairs on their shelves.

— from The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, by Simenon.

It shames me, and fills me with regret, to realize that for all the times I've been to Paris, I never once bought shoes there. Scarves and purses and berets, and even a haircut, but never shoes. I must rectify this.

This week I am far from Paris, and far from Montreal too. In many ways one might say my hometown is the opposite of Paris. But today, I bought some exquisite shoes, all manner of greens, from lime to olive, on gold-flecked platforms, with wide silk ribbons to swathe my ankles.

So for the moment I am content to let Simenon walk me through Paris. Through his eyes, but in my own new shoes.

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