one time, in paris

So here’s a thing that happened:

I was walking in Paris and happened upon this cafe with an outdoor courtyard of scattered tables under the trees. Inside was a little shop with upscale jams and honey and boxes of sugar cubes, only instead of cubes, they were little flowers or butterflies or stars. These ones actually.

Anyway. I didn’t buy any. They were sort of pricey and it seemed like a hassle to get them back to the United States. When I got home, I looked for them online but didn’t see a place where I could buy them and have them shipped to me. I found some other brands that I thought would be kind of similar and ordered those.

But they weren’t the same at all.

And then one day, probably a year or so later, I found myself walking by the same cafe in Paris again. So I bought the expensive cute sugar. It’s now in my kitchen.

Consider: I was walking in Paris. And then randomly, I happened to be walking in Paris again. You can understand I might be incredulous. At my own story. I mean, I was there and I still am suspicious about whether it actually happened.

A few days ago, I was at a baby shower. I was talking to some friends who asked how I was doing and I said that I could feel myself headed into another breakdown. A sure sign is when I start fantasizing about being in a hospital bed (all of the relaxation of a vacation without the pesky guilt of not working.). “Again?!” one of them said.

Well, yeah. On the one hand, that seems ridiculous. Having been through them before, why haven’t I learned my lesson and started avoiding them. On the other hand, anxiety disorder doesn’t just go away because you want it to, I guess.

You rationalize: surely this feeling is vestigial. It’s from being punished for crying when you were two. From having all of those carefully laid plans turn into falling dominos when your parents chose to move every year your entire childhood. It’s from going to classes half time senior year of high school as part of a vocational work program so you could work full time and yet at the end you still didn’t have enough money for the college you wanted to go to. From pawning your flute to pay for the SATs. From having a husband who spent so much money you flinched every time the phone rang because you ¬†knew it was a bill collector and the IRS sent you a tax lien notice.

Now you happen to randomly walk down the a street in Paris and buy sugar that you wished you’d bought last time you walked down that same street. You don’t need be ever vigilant, making back up plans to save you from the first set of best laid plans that are sure to all apart no matter how careful you are.

But you are. And you do. And you still wait for it all to fall down around you.

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