Walking on Rue de Grenelle in Paris, you pass by one of the most serene and imposing signs of baroque architecture - Dome des Invalides, the tomb of Napoleon I. It is adorned with gold decorations inside and on its dome. Walk inside and you find a burgundy marble sarcophagus hidden in the heart of the structure.
I reach in my trench and take the crisp, old envelope so that I can read it one more time. It really is the Dome des Invalides - golden roof and tomb. The death meant that it could only be here - the site of supreme death - that of Napoleon. Thus I step inside feeling the cold, marble columns as I head down to the tomb. I don't know what I'm waiting for, I don't know if I should be excited or scared. So I decide to let the emotions flow and start searching for a clue. Whilst I looked for even the slightest dent in the walls I think that maybe, maybe I lost something an that I didn't interpret the letter correctly.
I start to lose hope and slowly change my mind. I leave not understanding what I'm really feeling, a mixture of anger and disappointment. But why? Why should I be dissapointed? Have I done anything wrong - NO! I throw myself down on a patch of grass and start sobbing. Not only have I not found a hopeless treasure for which I went on a wild goose chase, I also let down my family and friends.
1 week ago
Mom! I run down the stairs to the kitchen of our town-house in Manhattan. Where did you leave my airplane ticket? I could feel the panic taking over my fragile body. Suddenly I feel a warm and gentle touch - my mom embraced me for one last time and handed me the ticket. I say good-bye and head out in search of a taxi on the busy streets of New York.
To JFK please! Finally independence and a life I lead myself! I open my purse and reach for my journal. A note read 1 p.m. terminal 4 . I look at the time and calm down - 4 hours to go. That means 12 hours till I walk out of CDG and into the city of my dreams - Paris.
After the mundane flight I go to the customs and hand my passport. Bonjour! The cold stare the officer gave me froze my heart still. For a moment I wasn't sure about anything, had I done the right thing going to university at Sorbonne? C'est ok? He hands me my passport and immediately warms me back up with a genuine smile. That second I knew I had done the right thing.
Rue de Mont Cenis s'il vous plait! I almost scream into the taxi drivers' ear. I'm going to the street in back of the Sacre Couer Cathedral - to my home for the next year!
What now? Where do I go now? I still have 3 more weeks till courses start and my life is plain and useless. I enter a small garden around the dome and sit down on a bench staring at a sculpture of a dead french hero. I contemplate with tears in my eye, my heart feeling like it had been broken..
The cold and wet granite was so soft at touch I was transposed back home in my mother's lap. I start hugging the pedestal and feel something at the end of the statue's sword. I lean in for a close look and there it was - my second letter. But don't go looking in itself, The treasure is of liberty! The liberator of France, the statue outside of the dome! My clue had just been standing there-