Step One: Face the Eiffel Tower

Oct 21, 2014 by

10.21.2014 - Step One, Face the Eiffel Tower (1)          On Sunday night, I went back to the Eiffel Tower. I didn’t want to. I had been avoiding it as much as one possibly can while in Paris, and I was of the opinion that I could never see it again and I’d be just fine with that. But you know when there’s something you know you’ve got to do? I knew I had to go back to the Eiffel Tower. I had to face it and pop champagne under it. Not to celebrate being there. No, crying to, at, and from the Eiffel Tower gives it a whole new significance. I needed to let someone go, and I needed to pop champagne to celebrate that choice.

          During my first venture to the tower, I decided that I had been holding on to the idea of he and I for too long. Even though I had already slowly begun to lose faith, I refused to completely let it go because the thought of giving up on him made me sad. For one, I had this stupid feeling that he needed me to be patient. Two, if I dropped it, I felt that meant he had most certainly tossed the possibility aside too. Lastly, if I let myself move on and he happened to come around, I feared the disappointment that would result from wondering what would have been had we both been willing to give each other a chance at the same time. In short, I believed he and I were worth waiting for.

          I don’t believe that anymore. The Eiffel Tower was my hope’s breaking point. No guy, no person, no deluded sense of confidence in someone that isn’t coming is worth succumbing to tears that not even one of the world’s most renowned monuments can stifle. I forced myself back to the Eiffel Tower; because, to me, continuing to avoid it meant continuing to avoid the issue, not popping champagne meant not overcoming internal struggle, and not being able to look at that tower with at least neutral – but preferably positive – feelings toward it meant not moving on.

          Sunday night at the tower could not have been more different than my first night. Appropriately, this time, it was beautiful, warm, and clear. I didn’t even need to wear my jacket despite being dressed in a sleeveless shirt. (Dear Canada, take note. France could teach you a few things about climate.) I walked with determination, rarely stopping to take in the different angles of my beloved Paris along the way. I had to keep moving to assure myself that I would get there. Upon arrival at the foot of the tower, I sighed: touristy Paris. I don’t have a high-and-mighty, I’m-a-traveller-not-a-tourist attitude, as if I’m above other visitors due to the length of my stay. I am undeniably a tourist whenever I’m in a city that isn’t my own. I sighed because lots of tourists mean lots of noise, lots of people harassing me to buy flashing toys, and lots of security, and I was not in the mood for any of it. I didn’t even want to be there. I just wanted to get this champagne-popping over with.

          When I pulled out the bottle to get a picture of it with the Eiffel, a cop immediately approached. There was alcohol being sold everywhere around me, yet it is somehow forbidden to have it under the tower. She politely asked me to put it away. I politely decided to be discreet. I promised myself I was popping champagne under the Eiffel Tower, so I was popping champagne under the Eiffel Tower. I stuck the bottle in the bag and grabbed a seat on a nearby bench. Not only would I be popping champagne under the Eiffel Tower, I would be popping champagne for my first time ever. Realizing that meant I didn’t know what to expect, I began to peel off the foil around the cork, hoping the bottle wasn’t going to explode champagne after I had just been told it’s not allowed on the property (but also kind of hoping it would). As per the many YouTube videos I watched on how to pop champagne in preparation for my first visit a week and a half prior, I held my hand over the wire cage around the cork. While I unwound the wire fixing the cage to the rim, I contemplated how I was going to do this. It was in a slim-fitting bag, so I wasn’t sure how to get a grip on the glass to twist the bottle open. As I debated my approach, I felt pressure against my hand from beneath the wire cage I hadn’t even had time to remove yet. Right while thinking that I better make a move fast, the champagne did it for me. To my surprise (and that of the people around me), I heard a pop. And with that sound, all the pressure was gone. The Eiffel Tower was just the Eiffel Tower again. I could admire it in peace.

          I drank my champagne as the tower sparkled on cue, toasting to the lessons he taught and my choice to finally learn them. When I began the two-hour walk back to Marais up Pont d’Iéna, I turned back toward the Eiffel Tower, looked it right in the summit, and smiled – more in memory of him than in smug conquest. Both the tower and the man were beautiful again, but neither would have the same pull. I hope he’s well, I sincerely thought to myself before spinning on my feet and walking away, but I am no longer his.

Happiness Tip: Pop champagne under your Eiffel Tower.

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