In contrast to the bustling evening the morning streets of Nice with the sparkling sun peaking up over the palm trees are still yet simultaneously alive. I was sauntering down to a cafe for a boost of caffeine and Pan au Chocolate as I watched the golden rays of sun light up the city as if it were covered in honey. Gratefulness nipped at my heels like an eager dog following me around, as a broad involuntary smile welled up out of happiness, this is a side effect of a life well lived. As I wrote my morning pages savoring a cappuccino I watched a robbed priest sternly sweep the the sidewalk in front of the church I sat directly across from. He was solemn and joyless completing his task. The church bells began to ring announcing the 8am mass. I don't think I watched a single soul enter the church aside from the 3 or 4 other priests who floated in as the bells tolled.
This particular cafe with it blue chairs lined up facing the street was where I drank a cafe au creme yesterday while watching an English couple argue bitterly. The women frustrated, sad and seething hissed "Why are you so set in your ways at the expense of others?" He mumbled an unenthusiastic apology, but clearly not caring that he'd hurt her feelings, as he stood there drinking his expresso listing out what the errands of rest of the day were and what their order should be. I could read her frustration and I was uncomfortable to be witness to her sadness. I knew exactly what she was feeling as if I was reading an open book. She was mad to be in paradise with her insensitive husband. I watched the silent anger pour out of her. I couldn't believe he was ignoring her sorrow and pain, and I could see her wondering "how had it gotten here, how had to gotten to this very moment, to this place? how had she wasted so much time on him and how many more years would she waste unhappy?" It was as if there were a rolling tape of her inner monologue playing all the sorrow and anger I could read on her face. This couple was a wonderful reminder that alone is often better than coupled.
The cafe I was sitting at seemed to have some dark energy about it, in fact although it looked inviting enough there was clearly something wrong with it. Yesterday it was the arguing couple and a homeless man scowling at me and throwing a tantrum when I wouldn't give him money for a cup of coffee, in fact he sat down in the middle of the street and scowled at me until some else gave him the 3 euros he needed. Maybe I should have given him the coins, maybe not. I'm always uncomfortable when strangers come directly up to make and ask me for something. Boxing me in and making me feel unsafe. I never know what the right thing to do is. Today I watched the priest scowl as he swept the doorway. I listened to 3 french adults laugh over their coffee fueled breakfast while they enjoyed a cigarette. A drunk angry man who seemed to know them came over from down the street and yelled at the one of the three standing. In fact he didn't just yell he grabbed and head butted him as I watched. The standing man began yelling "Police, police" and the drunkard stumbled away mocking the standing man he had just hit and repeating "Police" in an angry defeated way. This is the type of energy being drawn to that particular cafe. Maybe it's because the cafe sits across from a church as if the demons of those people who enter the church wait outside the doors of the cathedral knowing they are unwelcome in the dark holy ground of the incense filled church? While the demons wait impatiently outside for their victims to return they torture the souls of those around. This seems to be the only logical explanation for the scenes I've witnessed the past two days.
I finished my morning pages and coffee thankfully without another event and made my way slowly back through the city square to my hotel. Changing into running clothes I started to rush now eager to feel the pounding of my feet on pavement. I slapped on my garmin giddy to think about uploading this upcoming run that would list it's city as "Nice, France". It's also embarrassing to admit how long it's been since I've run. Between the mediation workshop I attended, getting to OH and back, and preparing for this trip running took a back seat in the last 2-3 weeks and I'm back at square one, but as long as I have legs that move and work I'll run when I can, it makes me feel whole. On the street my garmin finally found the satellite and I popped my ear buds in. I knew just the album to play as I ran down the promenade "Ain't No Man" by the Avett Brothers of course. I was still smiling as I'd been all morning even watching other peoples demons. As I ran I smiled boldly wishing this type of travel and adeventure could last forever.