You never see the stars in Paris.
Or rather, you simply cannot see the stars in Paris.
No matter the hour, no matter your location – there are never any stars to be seen. Whether this stems from the light pollution or simply because there is seemingly always a grey cloud hanging overhead, and never letting the pure sun – star -shine in, it serves as a reminder that yes, we are in a city proper.
I start to understand and long for the clean air and brilliant blue skies and stars and galaxies burning brightly so many millions of light years away.
Homesickness or something like that.
When I try to eke out a star from underneath that thick blanket of clouds, do we look at the same night sky? Do you see the same constellations as I do? Do they map out a pattern of the freckles on somebodies nose, or do you see the belt of Orion in the cold rainy February evening?
In this moment are we just two souls looking out into the vastness that is space, sharing a moment across spacetime? I’ve often wondered if there are more stars than grains of sand on a beach. Probably somewhere close.
Space out in the country side is infinite, and somehow in a city it’s all so contained and neatly packed away. It’s cold now, and it’s rainy, but really it’s well enough as Paris has nay a patch of green grass big enough for two to sit.
The city lights here are the stars.
There are so many neon green pharmacy crosses and red spiraling tobacco signs; they serve as the stars to which we are all invariably pulled; spinning around them like planets, sometimes becoming bigger as we amalgamate different languages.
The hanging streetlights burning softly yellow sending shadows scattering across the walls as we filter in and out of the various restaurants, cafes, and bars in clusters of people laughing as we skip across town, hoping to catch the last train home.
The city is a self-contained universe, and somehow I am bound to it; drawn by the mysterious appeal of a foreign city, wandering in and out of side streets and street vendors calling out to you. Shuttered doors don’t mean a thing if you knock twice, and inside there are tightly packed groups of people all friendly over a bottle of wine, some filtering out for another cigarette.
There are constellations of cars lined up one against the other, idling engines, waiting to the light to turn green and the metro zips by overhead like shooting stars. You cannot see beyond the cities borders and somehow for the moment it doesn’t matter – but suddenly you’ll look up and be caught off guard, at how grey the sky seems. It’s never this grey at home.
As winter segues into spring, puffy white clouds start to replace gray rain clouds, but there are never any stars that burn as visibly bright as that of the pharmacy sign.
I’d try to hail a cab if there is still money padding my pockets, but mostly I’d hop the metro.
And as I work my way back towards the suburbs the sky line becomes more and more distinct against the now bluing sky.