It was the end of a quite unproductive evening. I was exhausted these last weeks, dragging myself through the days made of tar. I felt as if blood has left my body and I was only a hologram of a human. Still, I was forcing myself to get on with work, even if most of the time it meant staring at the screen and hating myself. I have no idea what caused this sudden lack of energy and enthusiasm. I felt lifeless, even though I should be exploding with joy. My life is wonderful, everything seems to be falling into place and I must say, well, I’m rather bloody content. And yet I’ve been hit by some deep sadness, grieving I don’t know what, missing something unnamed, feeling nostalgic. Am I sad for the person I must leave behind to become the person I always wanted to be? – the person I always was but wasn’t letting myself express?I have so much to do. Big changes are coming, and I feel like I can no longer run away. Ironically perhaps, because these changes will include a lot of moving around. As If it wasn’t already a part of my life.
I didn’t want to spend the whole day sitting inside and staying miserable. If I can do at least one thing, the day is not lost. I try to get ready, get out of the house and wander around, with no particular goal. I was glad to see leaves changing colours. Autumn Is coming. I was a bit sad, lonely perhaps, thinking how many times I wandered the same streets on my own but then very often when in company I would miss the times of solitude. I am strange like that. I find a lot of comfort in silence and my thoughts never stop running. To feel someone else around me for a long time can be overwhelming. I then hide in my cave like a snake and do not want to be disturbed. It’s the time of processing thoughts. That’s how magic happens.
I walked around the well-known paths and was about to go home when I noticed a glimpse of something I wanted to explore for a while. When my curiosity lights up, there is no stopping me. “Fine.“ I thought. “I’m only going to have a quick look.”
I couldn’t believe it was the first time I came here. So many months I spent in this most beautiful city in the world, I must have walked past that door a million times. The gate to the adventure, straight under my nose, right behind the crowds of the ever unaware tourists. I’ve learnt this already. No matter how many times you walked the streets of Paris, there is always something left to discover. The city unfolds for those who keep an open heart.
The whole time I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be there. I put my invisibility cloak on and started taking pictures, afraid someone will stop me any minute. it’s an old cloak, you see. A bunch of soldiers walking around didn’t seem to care. A group of young people was sitting on the stairs, chatting away. It looked like no one minded my presence. I followed an empty corridor, mesmerised by this treasure hidden in the heart of the city. How wonderful. I started to look for a way to the upper gallery. I walked past a couple of doors and thought I will surely find the answer behind one of them. I found myself at the bottom of a beautiful staircase, in complete, empty silence, surrounded by an eerie glare of hospital neons. I walked up the stairs to the gallery. I have never seen anything like that. Definitely not in Paris. The whole place felt really strange and my heart was beating faster with every door opened. I could feel a sort of pressure in my ears that one can only find in face of mystery. It was a playground for my imagination. Off it went, running up and down the corridors, exploring every corner. I knew there were many ways to the gallery and I needed more time to see it all. Between the columns I could see a portal with stairs leading down to the garden. I didn’t go there. Intrigued by “biohazard” and “radioactive” signs on the door at the end of the gallery I had to investigate. I looked around me but again, nobody stopped me from snooping around. The door wasn’t completely shut, and I could feel a little draught coming from the inside. I pushed the door open but to my disappointment I didn’t find The Great Old One melting away from the iceberg. A small room with some bins. I did not however, walk inside, just in case I get locked in forever. I had that fear every time a door shut behind me.
It was getting darker and I went on wandering a little more, climbing up to the next floor. I heard some voices. It seemed like the active part of the hospital was functioning back to back with the abandoned part. How strange. I walked out to the balcony and saw a female doctor smoking a cigarette. Madame doctor with a cigarette. I said “bonsoir” and she answered politely. Again, I was surprised I wasn’t kicked out and thinking she might have not registered the event I walked around quietly, admired Notre Dame lurking from behind the Hospitals Façade and took my leave. Maybe Lady Doctor was a ghost. Or perhaps she thought I was one and used to their presence, continued smoking her cigarette.
I decided it was time to go. I knew already I would be back shortly. I can feel mysteries calling me from behind the closed doors of Hotel Dieu de Paris.