A Love letter to the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Dear Eiffel Tower,

The sky was pitch black the first time we met, and to be quite honest, my inner twelve-year old was so disappointed and was already on the verge of throwing a massive fit. Yes, you were super tall and you were even sparkling with all those lights and all, but seeing you didn’t fill me with supposed joie de vivre. You weren’t the dreamy, brilliant, awe-inspiring and romantic structure I've always imagined you to be. I wanted more from you. I was expecting more.

We came back the very next day, in high hopes that you’re going to transform yourself somehow, sweep me off my feet, and finally give justice to the magic that's been deeply ingrained by those romantic novels and Hollywood movies I have read and watched through the years. But sadly, I just stood there in front of you, feeling puzzled and pathetically underwhelmed. It didn't help too that an incoming storm was towering over you (pun intended) signalling us to hurry up and take cover. Even my forced smile in all the photos we took that day couldn’t hide its dismay. Once again you failed the little girl in me in a very big way.

So we went about our days and ticked off every list from our jam-packed itinerary, which I have carefully planned in my head decades ago. We were eating, shopping, and sightseeing our way around Paris and every moment became so memorable. Believe me, I tried to forget you. I really tried. We’ve managed to capture so many special moments and enjoy that charming Parisian life that everyone seemed to rave about, but that picture perfect 'Eiffel Tower' moment I created in my head from way back still continued to bother me like mad.

I would go back to our hotel room at the end of the day still yearning for “the dream”. It was like a chewed-up gum stuck under my favorite shoe or more like that scratchy feeling down my throat about to conjure a full-blown flu. I wanted to see you. I needed to see you again. Atleast one last time before we eventually fly back home.

Fortunately, my stellar of a husband was instantly game when I recommended a third and final visit. I had a feeling he was equally disappointed too and wanted to give you another shot so you could hopefully redeem yourself.

When we came back for you that day you just stood there, imposing as usual, but you didn’t change at all. You were the exact same metal fixture I saw the last time, but as I laid there in the grass staring at you and leaning against my husband’s back, I noticed an engagement photoshoot happening by the merry-go-round to your right. And in that quiet random moment, something slowly changed.

We giggled like kids watching as the cute couple struggled with their awkward poses. The photographer trying his best to hide his impatience and the toddlers slash onlookers on the side waiting for their turn to ride the merry-go-round. It was a chaotic moment, but beautiful nonetheless, and the couple’s sincere smiles have this certain je ne sais quio that set them apart from everyone and everything surrounding them. Those smiles spoke volume of love and the promise of a happily ever after. And because of that I finally understood why I was repeatedly feeling let down from the first moment I laid my eyes on you.

I shifted my gaze back at you and there you were again, the Dame de Fer that was once the recipient of hate from every French person, labelled as a major aesthetic blunder, but now towering over and above everything else finally looking brilliant as ever. You were so stunning that I thought I was about to cry.

So I guess it all boils down to perspective.

I realized it was what I was feeling and who I was with that brought home all the clichés I was expecting from you. And in that moment of realization, you showed me that inherent magic in all its gloriousness. You became everything I have imagined you to be and more: the Eiffel Tower I have always dreamed of seeing since I was twelve.

My husband then asked me, “Happy?”

I just nodded my head, a bit teary-eyed, unable to utter a word.

“Now, please get up. We need to take some nice photos as souvenir before we go back home.”

This is definitely one of those “that time we saw the Eiffel Tower” story I’d tell our future kids and grandkids over and over again. Thank you for the memories. :)

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