This morning, I make a pot of coffee to un-fog my brain. But I don’t leave the apartment. I start writing again. The words are flowing magically. The story is writing itself.

In the late afternoon, I know I want to get a walk in today. I close my laptop and prepare to be seen on the streets of Paris. I look in the mirror, fix my scarf, brush my hair and grab my bag. Yes, I’ve finally gained enough confidence to leave my apartment like a normal person.

Downstairs, as I open the big, wooden door and exit the building, I catch a whiff of the cold air, fragrant with delicious smells—roasting duck, chickens, beef, onions, mushrooms, celery, consommé—cooking in an oven somewhere. Perhaps that’s why Paris is so beloved—it smells so good.

I begin my walk down rue de Rivoli. These old stone pavers feel good under my feet. I walk, turning onto different streets, left and right. I want to just melt into this beautiful city and get lost today.

PARIS near Shakespeare and CoThere are so many people on the sidewalks. I want to disappear into the crowd. I want to be the mysterious woman wearing black, eating confit du canard with a glass of pinot noir in the back of a dark café, writing about a tragic love affair during the Resistance. It’s easy to feel tragic on a cold winter’s day when Paris is like a scene from a Jean-Luc Goddard film.