When SB and I visited Paris last May, we spent a while roaming around the Louvre. It was a hot day, and we had already been to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and had walked all the way down the Champs Elysees, past the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, through Place de la Concorde, through the Jardins de Tuileries, only to end up at the Louvre for free entrance night. It was a lovely, lovely day, and would have been perfect but for my highly disappointing Merrell flats that gave me blisters all over.
Our evening at the Louvre was a timed event. We had a very limited amount of time to explore, a very diverse list of items to see, two feet nearing the status of "massacred" and a throng of enthusiastic tourists to maneuver through.
Obviously Eric's girlfriend La Jaconda was first on the list:
Then we hit up as much else as we could. I believe we were actually on the hunt for Venus de Milo, who was actually just alright, when we stumbled upon a most unexpected treasure.
This photo does not do her justice. Because when you first see her you are climbing a staircase, and she is placed in the middle of the landing, so it's like she's rising before you. I remember we both gasped. Her full name is Winged Victory of Samothrace, but they call her Nike. She is from Greece, and is over 2000 years old. They found her in pieces, many, many pieces, but they put her back together. She is strong, imperfect, bold, incomplete. I was so drawn to her, I didn't want to leave. I could have sat for hours admiring her.
For my birthday, SB gave me something extraordinary, without even really knowing. He found a foot tall reproduction of Nike. And while I know that she is special for both of us, since it was one of the most memorable, striking moments of our whole trip, I feel like it is so apt that when I am feeling so deconstructed and lost and broken that this is the gift he chose to give me.