03 August 2009

Des larmes au Louvre

It could be viewed as unfortunate that one of my most vivid memories of Paris is a sad one. But the melancholic image is so beautiful that I don't mind reliving it.

It was mid-December. A period of my Parisian experience that is a blur of travel plans, my brother's visit and the excitement and disappointment of that lost internship debacle.

Ben and I were visiting the Louvre during its Wednesday nocturnal hours. After stopping by the random bits that we wanted to see, we decided to pass through the ever-crowded halls of large-format romantic paintings. Giant tableaux by French romanticism's heavy hitters - Delacroix, Ingres, David - abound. The richly painted ruby rooms are noisy and crowded but an eternal must-see.

Exhausted from a long day, difficulty sleeping and the wear of depression, I nearly collapsed on one of the large hall's giant leather ottomans. Sitting side-by-side with my brother an argument over something or another broke out between us. With my emotions intensified by everything that had happened over the last few days, I began to cry. There, with swarms of Japanese tourists and Parisian art students whizzing by, with giant walls covered with epic, larger-than-life paintings, I sat silently sobbing.

And the last thing I remember is my brother, without saying a word, putting his arm around me in the only gesture that could possibly matter.

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