(atop La Tour Eiffel)
I am on the plane to Paris when I see a documentary about Chimpanzees. The narrator says “Bonita was clinging to her mother when they shot and killed her, she was then kept as a pet for a year before she was rescued.” The feeling that I will burst into sobs is so intense that I tear off my headphones and I don’t look at the screen again. I don’t look back at the big brown eyes of the little girl now clinging to her rescuers and worried that they, too, will abandon her.
I pull out my Paris guidebook and begin reading about the gardens of Luxembourg. I know that my friend Janet, who is a therapist, not my therapist, but a therapist, has said that one way to work through the pain when it comes up is to just dive into it--but not on the plane to Paris.
I have wanted to come here since I was a little girl. My mother said she would take me. I studied French for 6 years but we never went. So I am taking myself. Maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe nobody ever rescues anybody else. We rescue ourselves. Because the truth is, you can take a girl to Paris, but if you really want her to go somewhere, teach her how to get there herself.