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Meet Axel

Whenever he could, Axel would walk back and forth to school, relying on the Metro only if it rained or snowed. Partly, this was to economize. A forgone round-trip would finance an evening drink, but mostly, it was to explore the city.

In the morning, it was a determined and charted walk to the American College, but in the late afternoon, with more time, he would choose different bridges over the Seine. When he reached the Right Bank, Axel would wander home, resolved to surprise himself along the way. 

It made him a lover of the city’s bridges, each with its own history. They demarcated Paris’ neighborhoods and residents, their cultural and economic identities. They were points of entry and departure. He imagined the millions of people who arrived and left the city from each bridge, the joy of anticipation, the bittersweet resignation of a goodbye.

And always the Seine. But never the same. Each hour of the day bent the sun at a different angle off of its waters. Each bridge offered unique shadows.