Photography © Shannon O'Connor

Photography © Shannon O’Connor


Paris in Copley Square

When I was in high school,
my friend and I would go
to Copley Square and pretend we
were in Paris. The library, the Trinity
Church, Copley Plaza Hotel and the Old
South Church all looked like Paris
to us. Neither of us had ever been,
but we had seen the same pictures.

We didn’t end up going to Paris.
We ended up going to Russia and Germany.
We got to enjoy the Soviet Union,
dreary buildings, rude smelly people,
not enough food, an abundance of history,
and Pain.

I went over the edge.
But that was a long time ago.
I was insane for four years,
then I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the psychiatric hospital.
I went out into the world,
dealing with my branding.

I haven’t seen my friend in 23 years.
I don’t know if she ever went to Paris.
I did. I got to enjoy April in Paris,
magical buildings, rude smelly people,
the best food of my life, an abundance of history.
And Relief.

I want to tell her, “I went to Paris, I went
alone, and I felt fine most of the time,
I saw a lot of things, and I’m not insane

She doesn’t care about me. The life I used
to have are like the keys from the locks that the lovers
throw into the Seine. They sink to the bottom
of the river, and they don’t matter anymore. What matters is the lock
on the bridge. It could be there indefinitely, even though the love might die.
Nothing is forever. No lock, no key, no building, will stand the test of the ages.
C’est la vie.


Shannon O’Connor holds an MFA from Bennington College. She has been published previously in Oddball Magazine, as well as Wordgathering, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Meeting House Magazine and others. She lives in the Boston area, and when she is not writing, she enjoys coffee, yoga and listening to birds.