Laughter and Friendly Arguments

I listen to the quiet lyrics of “Je m’suis fait tout petit” in my tiny hotel room, and I am transported to another ordinary little hotel room not far from the Champs-Elysées. There are street sounds—laughter and friendly arguments—outside on this mild evening, and the scent of springtime greenery breezes gently in through the window, eliciting a sigh of contentment from me.

It is the music that is the mechanism for the transport, yes, but this hotel room is needed, too. Its small size, the sink just inside the door, and the open window overlooking the airshaft all combine to make it easy—with just the barest of nudges—to blink and be in the city of cities.

But it is a mirage, this hotel room near the Seine. And like all mirages, it ripples and shimmers and fades to reality. And reality is a tiny, slightly stuffy hotel room in Oakland. But still the scent and sound of that languorous escape lingers, softening and coloring all that it touches in my mind’s eye.

What a city this is! It can extend its fingers softly halfway around the world and infuse my little room with its essence. And instead of leaving me aching for what I cannot fully have, my soul is refreshed by this one oh-so-brief caress.

About Mike

Michael Heggen is a horseman, maker, and thinker who lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife, Kim, and "three to eight cats". He stays quite busy riding, driving, and caring for their three horses, Boulder, Shasta, and Bob. Among other things, Mike has been a fencing coach, police chaplain, computer consultant, aspirant to the diaconate, computer salesman, box boy, carpenter, computer technician, typesetter, church youth leader, copy machine operator, and network administrator. His other interests include juggling, reading voraciously, and (pretty occasionally these days) cycling.
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