Perhaps it has been too long since I last spoke to you, but as you always feared time moves on and people inevitably forget. But I promised I never would. With each new day I must guiltily admit that you’ve started to fade from my mind but in this country, I can feel your presence more strongly than ever. At the tender age of five alongside you, the mature seven-year-old we set a tentative foot into the magical land in Disneyland Paris where our tiny minds were completely blown away. The classic tune that blasted through the speakers each day at two o’clock to signal the parade never bothered you while it left me paralysed in my pram, sobbing over the terrifyingly large mickey mouse dancing around with the Little Mermaid while “Its A Small World” played over and over purposely to taunt me further. The evening time was mam’s opportunity to drag us to the “real” parts of the city. We were all tuckered out by eight, too sleepy to complain as we dozily sat hand in hand with our heads propped on either side of the newly purchased pristine Nemo teddy. While you were out for the count, I remained awake, much to mams dismay, as she attempted to broaden her horizons, touring the Palace of Versailles while we napped. Outside the slightly too small double buggy in which us two lazy non-toddlers were sat, a picture of a man on his knees awaiting a crown to be placed on his head called too me. Luckily, mam was too enthralled in the Palaces magnificent hand-crafted gold skirting boards to notice as I, in a very clumsy fashion, managed to hack the prams security unbuckling its fastener and setting myself free to roam the mansion. The picture was weirdly bumpy, as if it were crafted out mountains of paper. It was unlike any photo I had seen back home as I almost unconsciously gravitated towards shining silver crown it displayed in all its glory. The rich red velvet ropes that surrounded it were of no obstruction to my plan, as my height, or lack thereof, made me invincible to its protecting powers. My frazzled curls barely scrapped the underside of the rope as I walked beneath it with ease to my potential playing field. So close now, the enormity of this photo began to overwhelm me as I struggled to fit its whole image in my view without getting dizzy. The man I was focused on now appeared to be a giant, the crown I so desperately wished to touch bigger than me. But the colours, oh those colours, so bright yet with a deepness, so imaginative yet realistic, I became paralysed yet again this time not through fear, but through utter mesmerisation. It was then when you gently placed your hand on my shoulder, pulling me out of my trance and into the world. You whispered so softly in my ear “come back quickly, mammy’s gonna be mad!”. And so, we hurried back to the pram, and in an extremely non discreet manner orchestrated ourselves into the exact position we were in before. In our minds the scene would look untouched, only if we scrunched up our whole face and shut our eyes as tightly as we possibly could. As I visit the Palace now, I arrive with the same intentions our mother had back then, yet a magnet continuously pulls me to that painting that I now know to be the Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David. Standing next to it, all I see is you, coming to save me from a stern yelling at from our mother. That holiday, so common and simple, will never leave me.
It may be a needle in the haystack amongst the precious moments we had together, but I will treasure it, as well as you.
Forever with love,