above the darkness

By the 11th month of confinement (more or less …) in Paris we mostly got used that new regular and rather comforting life: group parties got replaced with netflix solo ones, long office hours transformed into pajama teleworking and deliveroo's choice-and-order efficiency tripled. We deleted from our gesture vocabulary the cheek kisses or the handshakes and integrated instead the in-mask-eyes smiles and the regular gel application. We got so settled in the pandemic mindset that films showing group gatherings shock us to the point of pressing a pause to process what we've seen. And spending 90% of my life at home, without tango or restaurants, I started to be convinced that the previous life was just a happy surrealistic dream. I got entirely soaked into that omnipresent fog of boredom and apathy. It was time to do something.

As a natural introvert I sat down and developed several desperate strategies of satisfying my craving for the newness and social interaction:

- Go to a book shop pretending I'm gonna buy one and chat with a shop assistant for 15 minutes instead.

- Attack the first dog-person I see on the street and start asking the animal-related-questions.

- Go do the sport session in the park – they do it in small groups, plus it's lead by a fireman… ;)

Despite the fireman, all of those were barely any satisfying. Meanwhile my inner rebel got already unstoppable, so I decided to make a real game-changing move : go to a restaurant myself and… take-away with my proper hands! In no time I randomly selected a resto from my "foodie waiting list" and flew straight into it. French-country coziness with its simple decorations, friendly smile at the entrance and a handwritten gastronomical menu of three-services got me in a massive flashback : for a second it felt like the good old outside-life times. While choosing my treats, I was spying with one eye on the chef doing his magic in the open kitchen. 15 minutes of honest 4-hands-preparation and I had my treasures ( with the actual cutlery they kindly/forcedly borrow!).

The little square just in front where I installed myself immediately overwhelmed me with impressions : all around me there were people! Just like me ­– hungry for chitchat and exchange. All of a sudden we were all sharing the joy of strangers' lunch connection : eating, being, smiling. In the sun. Together. The excitement transmitted through the air and any pretext worked as a magical possibility of exchange and reunion of Parisian souls : "Excuse me, do you have a lighter?, - no, I'm so sorry! But I think that guy on my left had one! – Oh, sure, I do! ­­– You don't smoke ? You prefer I go further ? – Omg, your dish looks amazing!­– Oh my god, yours even better !" , and that's when I finally got back to my unwrapped food. Even in the ugly paper containers it looked fantastic : a splash of joy, color and life in your hands. A fusion of classical French softness and Asiatic dirty explosiveness. And in the mouth – a moment of epiphany. The enveloping creamy tenderness of vegetable and wild-rice ravioli with its light springy seasoning. Then, the punch of marinated Asian beef with its salty-sour sauce and stringy kimchi. And as a perfect finale for this extravertive sunny afternoon: pavlova of agrumes with its tender merengue and extravagant refreshing mix of local and exotic acidity. Finally I was back to life. Overcharged with tastes, interaction and emotions I ran back to the restaurant to spill my gratitude on the team ( and secretly chaffer the marinade sauce recipe). Filled with its light and energy, I turn my head at the exit to capture the moment and record the restaurant's name. Lupiotes. As for : Little light. Yes. Makes sense :)