In February 2008 I was diagnosed with Stage I Breast Cancer. Two more surgeries followed. And six and a half weeks of radiation.
I am blessed. My doctors caught it early. My prognosis was excellent. And I have come out stronger and more resilient.
My boyfriend at the time told me that after I finished radiation, he would take me on a trip to wherever I wanted to go. Hmm. “Someplace tropical . . . . or Paris,” I thought.
I chose Paris.
Even before I stepped foot in the City of Love, I loved Paris. I dreamed about “us” in Paris . . . walking each morning to the corner patisserie for chocolate croissants and cafe au lait. Kissing on the metro. Holding hands as we strolled down Rue Cler. And sipping wine at Les Place des Vosges.
But what I wanted, what I longed for, most of all, was to see the Eiffel Tower. I collected Eiffel Towers. I was (how do I say it?) obsessed with the Eiffel Tower.
So my charmant 6′ 5″ boyfriend made lunch reservations at 58 Tour Eiffel, one of the three restaurants located on the Eiffel Tower.
I was in heaven. I excitedly told all my friends. Okay, I bragged. Who wouldn’t?
We landed in Paris on a Monday morning and got settled into our beautiful apartment in La Marais.
We had decided to save our special lunch for the second day, hoping to sleep off jet lag so that we might fully enjoy the experience.
The first day passed quickly. Day Two finally arrived. I put on a favorite dress, and we hopped on the Metro, then got off and walked the 5 or 6 blocks to Lunch in Heaven.
After a couple of blocks we rounded a corner and voila!
I was Dorothy and I had just laid eyes on the Emerald City. I quickened my pace and left my city-tromping b.f. clipping at my heels like Toto.
Finally, with just a block to go, I stopped and asked him to take this photo of me. He told me later that I looked (at that moment) like I was going to spontaneously combust.
I can’t tell you now what we had for lunch that day. It probably involved seafood and an expensive bottle of Sancerre. Other than that, all I remember is that I was blissfully happy. And that, somehow, is enough.