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So Close

I felt warm pressure and realized it was the woman behind me.

The inch I managed to claim while waiting in line for the Tower had evaporated, and briefly we were skin-to-skin under the Paris sky. Her son stepped on my foot several times, and I felt the family's breath on my cheeks, but full body contact caught me by surprise.

I know every culture has a different comfort level regarding personal space, but I fear my memories of the Eiffel Tower will be forever co-mingled with the hovering of this family too close to mine.

Where are they from, I wondered, listening closely to their language, trying to discern a word or two that would reveal which culture differed so much from my own. Even our most overt attempts to widen the gap between us were futile. When we made it to the ticket counter and the space opened up, I felt palpable relief.

At the top of the tower, a rainbow rewarded us, and when I wasn't clinging to the walls nurturing my terror of heights, I marveled again at the magic of being here.

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