Lost & Found

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Norton, Warm greetings from the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Paris.... The woman at the hotel with whom you left M. S.’s wallet brought it to our shelter, and we returned it to him. On his behalf, thank you for your honesty and efforts to make a poor man happy.

-Giovanna Taoussi, Communications Officer.

A few years ago, my husband and I went to Paris to mark our tenth anniversary. We left our five-year-old son with a sitter and jetted off to the City of Light, I with the subconscious hope of somehow assessing our marriage, he with the expectation of actually celebrating it. And why not? Museums, fine food, fine wine. Paris.

What I saw as an arresting milestone in our logistically demanding, cross-Atlantic relationship, replete with obligations to ailing parents and other dependents, he saw as a city break. I saw an occasion to congratulate ourselves and to reflect; he saw a three-day respite from responsibility. Plus fine food, fine wine. Paris.

We’d barely had our first croissant before we were at odds. His conversation was rooted in the moment, mine in remembrance. By evening, we were hardly conversing. The next day we visited different wings of the Musée d’Orsay, only once crossing paths, at Cézanne’s still life, Apples and Oranges. Happy anniversary.

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About the Author

Sue Norton is lecturer of English at the Dublin Institute of Technology. Her work has appeared in periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been broadcast on Irish radio.