This little adventure happened to me just a few hours ago. It was such a pleasant surprise that I had to write about it and share my photos. Enjoy.
I threw the chopped onions into the skillet and added some butter, then I cut up the garlic while the butter sizzled and the onions began to fry. I added the garlic and opened the balcony window to the cold air. The breeze blew into the studio, churning the sharp scent of the fresh onions with the fruity post-shower mist. I figured the onions could cook on their own for a minute or two, so I went out into the hall to run to the bathroom. Then WHAM, the door slammed shut behind me.
I was locked out.
My bladder’s needs were forgotten as I rushed back to the door, pounding against the lock and cursing like you might if you locked yourself out of your apartment and left vegetables frying on the stove. I thought for sure the building would burn down.
“F***, f***, f***!” I yelled. I looked around at the empty hallway searching for something to break the door down with. There was a table, my tennis shoes, and my broken umbrella. No battering ram. I ripped the material from the umbrella and attempted to use one of the metal arms to pick the lock. I shook the flimsy piece of aluminum up and down inside the lock, all the while saying, “Please please please don’t let my house burn down!” Lana Del Rey continued crooning from inside my studio as I became more frantic. I ran through every option and concluded that I had no choice but to break into the studio myself. But the umbrella wasn’t cutting it.
Just as the tears started to pool in my eyes I remembered that my balcony window was still open. The roof.
I threw off my slippers and my sweater and thrust my feet into my tennis shoes. Then I propped open the hallway window and looked outside.
The building I live in is lined with blue-grey sheet metal that covers the facade like a turtle’s shell. There is a small space between it and the building next door that plunges down to the pavement seven stories below, but there is a small ledge that encircles my building and connects to the roof.
There was no other choice, so I climbed out the window and stood on the ledge, grasping the wall behind me. My heart throbbed and my hands shook with adrenaline and urgency as I made my way around the side of the building and onto the roof.
Then I saw this:
And I froze.
Only hours before, Paris had been grey and rain had poured down like ropes. Now the sun shone brightly and a gentle breeze blew over the rooftops. I stood there a moment in awe, feeling the open air envelop my body. I felt so free looking out over the city and basking in the sun, like a bird released from its cage.
Then I remembered my onions. “Crap, crap, crap,” I mumbled as I slid down the roof and onto my balcony. I jumped into my apartment and immediately over to the stove to save my lunch. The onions were a little burnt, nice and crunchy, but there was no fire to put out. I finished making my meal (scrambled eggs and a tortilla), then sat down to eat. Once my belly was full I grabbed a book and climbed back onto the roof from my balcony to read in the sunlight.
I tried to read, but I couldn’t resist my desire to simply sit there on the roof and gaze at the sun-drenched Parisian cityscape. A rainbow arched over Sacré-Cœur in the distance. A French flag billowed against the clouds. I turned my face to sun and closed my eyes and smiled.
Sometimes disasters turn into blessings. And that is why life is beautiful.
Smiles and all the best,