Monday, April 26, 2010
Near the Pont Neuf in Paris, there's a lovely little footbridge called Pont des Arts. It's one of the few bridges across the Seine for pedestrians only. Wooden planking and abundant benches make it a charming place to sit and watch the city go by, and John and I took a few minutes to enjoy it during a recent visit.
As we sat and admired the view of Ile de la Cite, with the towers of Notre Dame looming over the budding trees, we noticed dozens of padlocks woven through the metal netting that serves as a railing. What was their purpose, we wondered? We hazarded a half dozen guesses and, although we had no idea which was correct, we enjoyed the game. When we left, we noticed several of the locks had writing on them; a few even were engraved. And, as we read the words inscribed on them, their purpose became clear: Je t'aime. J'adore. Sally *hearts* Jamie.
As a writer of historical romances, my brain began to generate story lines. I pictured each lover taking a key to hang on a chain around his or her neck. Even better, lovers who threw their keys into the Seine, never to be retrieved. How could anything be more romantic? And then we spotted the combination locks. A commitment, but with an out. How cynical. How modern. How...honest.
Ah, love. None of us has a lock on it. But we keep putting our hearts out there for all the world to see. Eternally wishing. Eternally daring. Eternally hopeful.