PARIS – FRANCE
A young woman watched the tourists walk by from inside the café where she sat, overlooking the Seine and with the Louvre nearby. It was early spring, so they were few and far between, but she could spot them. Looking sneakily at maps and squinting at signs, pretending that they knew where they were going. Most were French or English, attracted by the late snow. According to some sources, this was only going to get more and more common – late winters, rainy summers, scorching autumns. Still, Paris was Paris, whatever the weather. Children cried and played, women flirted, men sat hunched over their lap-tops and newspapers, and teenagers held hands and kissed guiltily in the diminishing light. She sighed. She was hardly older than the two holding hands walking down the slush filled street, the brittle winter winds tousling their hair.
She missed London. She missed the way the people rushed to place to place, never giving her a second glance. Winter felt so right there, especially when it snowed. No one worked, everyone smiled together, no matter whom. They stayed inside with their families, and only the brave or lonely ventured out. She missed the snow; she’d spent so much time in it, after all…
The hairs on the back of her neck prickled, and she hadn’t noticed how white her knuckles had gone from gripping the now cold mug of hot chocolate in front of her. She sipped it while scanning the other patrons of the café’s along the road. Outside the café two shops down, a man about her age was sitting and watching a laptop with a bored expression on the little of his face she could see peeking out from his hat and scarf combo. In the café opposite, she saw a woman wiping the condensation off the window with a black sleeve, revealing another two girls with her, younger, but not in school uniform. She nodded to herself, and got up to leave, reaching for her wallet. A waiter wandered slowly over, and she took him in. He was cute enough, she supposed, just not her type. Not that she had a type… but still, something was off about him. He had an ink splodge or two on his hands, and more than one pen in his pockets. And purple socks. As he walked over, another one of the patrons looked up, a boy of 14 with brown hair and a devilishly cheeky look in his eyes. None the less, she paid and calmly walked up the street, anxious to get away. She passed the man on the laptop, who was clearing his glasses that had fogged in the cold. Now, he was her type. He looked up and smiled at her, and she smiled back without a second thought. She saw him grin guiltily and blush beneath his hat. Smiling to herself, she carried on down the road towards the Champ de Mars.