Skip to page content
Return to Top


Molly Thornton


She lives in Paris. She owns a colorful, plastic Grinch back pack. Getting off of the Metro, she comments on my initialized back pack: -MAJ-
“What a beautiful name—Maj.” She thinks my name is Maj. M-A-J—those are my initials, of course. How could she not know this? But I play along and thank her for the compliment.
She is telling me what a deal she got on her brightly colored Grinch back pack. I have decided officially that she is odd. Melissa and I are glancing sideways at each other. Our minds are on the same page.
Now she is leading us to and telling us of a beautifully painted, curving staircase within the Metro station. We are reluctantly following this chattering lady to this supposedly scenic staircase—a picturesque existence within the gray, dirty walls of the Metro.
How can it be?
I cannot believe it. Grinch Back Pack Lady is right. The sight takes my breath away! Red, yellow, green, blue and other vivid hues create shapes and silhouettes comparable to a Picasso. These soiled Metro walls have proven to be a perfect canvas for Parisian artists. We are entranced. Yes, she has a silly back pack. Yes, she is officially weird. But, she is quite capable of appreciating true beauty. I’m grateful she has shared this sweet secret with me.

He lives in London; he loves the Queen of England, and he’s standing right in front of me. The melancholy clouds will not ruin his day. It’s the Queen’s “official birthday parade.” This is my first experience with Queen-obsessive Londoners. Dry, desert-like skin covers his face. Dashes of dandruff present themselves on his raggedy, blue shirt. He’s sharing his jelly doughnut with the bobby standing in front of him. Am I the only one who finds this odd?
Frantically looking down the road, the Queen Freak is ready for Her to appear. He drones on and on in his British babble about The Queen this, and The Queen that.
“Here she comes—here she comes—That’s her—the queen—look it’s her . . . Oh—no that’s just a horse.”
Two seconds later: “It’s her, it’s her. Look everyone—Look—The Queen—I see her—I see her—there she is! Oh—no it’s not—it’s just a royal guard.”
Queen Freak’s anxiousness continues for no less than twenty frantic minutes. A die-hard fan of The Queen is he. Q.F. knows everything about The Queen.
Finally—in a bright yellow dress The Queen graces him and the rest of us with 
Her Presence.