Lost and Found / by Brian Beck

Paris has always been a special place for me, and it's surprising that it only occurred to me now how fitting it is that the first stop on this journey into the unknown is Paris.  My first trip here was in the spring of 1998 with my sister.  I had recently divorced and I was, as one might imagine, not in the greatest place.  My sister was similarly coming out of a long relationship that ended badly and so we joined up for a London/Paris adventure together.  It was a fantastic trip and later that summer when I met the woman who was destined to become my wife, I wanted to take her there.  Our first vacation was a trip to Provence, culminating in a back-end stopover in Paris.  Looking back on it, those few days were pivotal for us because we survived our first bruiser of a fight in the middle of a fruit market on the Rue Cler.  I don't remember now what the fight was about, but somehow I lost my temper, we traded some f-bombs and just like that, she turned and walked away.  Marched away actually.  The kind of march that means it's over.  I remember standing there as she receded into the crowd and having about 5 seconds to decide how the rest of my life was going to go.  There you are one minute thinking you've got it all figured out, and the next minute you're totally lost.

But you make your choice (of course I went after her).   And just as quickly as it happened, the multiplicity of alternate endings that paralyzed me in that moment ceased to exist.  Fast forward a couple of years and I would propose to her at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, and a year later we stood there again on our honeymoon.  We found a deep love of food in Paris that has drawn us closer together, and we've shared that in communion with so many friends in this city.  If there is a thread that connects the most pivotal events, decisions and people in our lives, it's that many of them have happened here, in this self-contained universe where you can be both lost and found all at once.