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hippy trippin

Henry

USA | Tuesday, 15 May 2007 | Views [1042] | Comments [3]

before i came on this trip, i thought i would be coming home with a list of new friends as long as i am tall. i'm not. mostly just a list of 'me'.

it's the day before i leave. i'm not sad....well.. i did, however, want to get as much 'in' as i could today. there were a few little things that charlotte suggested to me to do today before i go. one of them being to walk through a park near the sorbonne. so i did. i didn't feel like thinking about what wasn't 'checked off' my own list. i just wanted to enjoy the last moments with no stress. no thinking and no map.

as i walked through the city, i came across the natural history museum, which was adjacent to another beautiful little park. i love the parks here. i love how green it is and the architecture that peeks through the trees. i love all the lamp posts that wave to me everywhere i go.

going through the park, there were many level changes and as I came in, i was standing on one of the high levels, looking down into a sea of green and trees and flowers. with one lone person standing in the midst of it all.

he was sketching. it was the quintessential photo. the ONE that i didn't take.

i walked down, no intention toward him at all...just me wandering around, as usual. i came around a bend and there he was. easel in front of him...pencil in hand. eyes in front of him.

i walked up behind him and stood to watch his artistry come alive on the page. he was sketching one of the trees in colored pencil. not colors that you would typically select for a tree. it wasn't brown with green leaves. it was red and purple.

it wasn't 'normal'.

i liked him already.

he wore a black vest and had 'coke bottle' glasses that made his eyes look twice the size they really were. his teeth were really bad, but his smile was really great. his laugh even better.

his name was henry.

we started chatting about his 'philosophy' of this use of color for the tree. i had mentally planted myself on the sidewalk of his mind. chin in hands, fully enthralled in watching the complexity that stood before me in the simplest form of a man.

he had been homeless. he had been a professor. what he currently was was brilliant.

we talked for a bit and then it started to sprinkle and he packed his things up, which made me sad a little on the inside--i hadn't connected with that many people on the trip, but it seemed like all of the connections had been profound ones. this was another and i wasn't ready to get up from the sidewalk that i had planted myself on.

luckily he asked me if i wanted to grab some coffee and continue our chat. i was all too happy to oblige this request when i had made a very clear resolution to avoid french men altogether after that first day in Paris. i felt completely comfortable leaving there with him. charlotte would have had a heart attack. so would my dad.

we found a little coffee house and for the next 3 hours sat there over many cups of coffee (hey..they're tiny) and a few beers for him...and more cigarettes for him than i cared to watch, but wasnt paying that much attention to.

we talked about art. we talked about artists. we talked about color. and philosophy. and films. and architecture (he started out at UCLA for a degree in architecture--decided he wasn't good at math and quit. funny..i'm not 'good' at math either). we talked about music. and the music and color and art of the mind. we talked about God. we talked about drugs. we talked about Life. it was the best 'talk' i've had in a very long time.

sadly, i had to meet charlotte and needed to leave. i think neither of us wanted to end the connection and very oddly, there was NO energy from him other than that of a teacher to a student. he was illuminating me and i know he could feel it in my eyes. the way they lit up by hearing one of his ideas and philosophies. i don't think he had seen anyone light up by way of his words like this in a long time. i don't think my eyes had lit up by anyone's words like this in a long time.

we paid and i got up to leave. the couple next to us took a picture that i will treasure forever. he took a photo of me with his camera so that he could work on a portrait of me. i can't wait to see it.

i started off in the direction toward the metro. he told me that where i was going wasn't far and that if I wanted, he would walk me there. i was so happy. i wanted to spend as much time with him as i could.

on my last day, i had the best tour guide of paris. for 30 minutes. for 30 minutes as he walked with me, he told me the 'unknown' stories about the buildings. the stuff you don't get by walking the city alone and refusing to be stuck in a tour group. the stuff you don't get by reading the guides. the stuff you know only by living there for the past 40 years of taking it in.

we came to the corner where he would go his way and i would go mine. it was a very 'cutting' fork in the road.

the thing with meeting people abroad is that you make this connection and then you have to let it go. i hate letting connections go. once i have one, i want to clip it to me like a belt and wear it around forever. i wanted to wear this one...and i will. but i don't know that i'll ever see henry outside of my pictures and my heart. that's enough i guess, but hard.

he looked at me with his 'too big' eyes...i think it had been a long time since he had connected with anyone other than his easel and pencils. i think it had been a long time since anyone had really 'listened' to him. i wanted to hug him with my heart. i did..and hopefully he felt it.

i was sad to watch him go...he looked back a little way down the road and we waved to each other.

the night is falling on paris. and my visit with her.....

Tags: People

Comments

1

this was lovely

  crystal Jun 24, 2007 6:04 AM

2

THIS. is my favorite. :)

  misty Jul 4, 2007 10:17 AM

3

he was one of my favorite parts of the trip--for sure. just thinking about him puts me right back at that little cafe..i can smell it, hear him laugh...the whole thing. whaaa....i wanna go back!!

  incessantly_insatiable Jul 4, 2007 11:54 AM

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