I’m not here

When you get this, I’ll be in France on a trip that took detective skills and twenty years of work.

It’s my 20th wedding anniversary on 3 August and I will be with Angela Gallagher in Paris. We honeymooned there and that’s where the detective work came in.

I was sure the hotel had changed its name and anyway, I wasn’t certain what it was. I remembered a shop on the same street, though, so I got out Apple Maps and Google Streetview and I searched Paris for where we had honeymooned.

Hours of searching, phoning hotels in the city, struggling with my schoolboy French, I did it all and booked our room.

Then, late one night, Angela couldn’t sleep. She went into our living room, crossed to the shelves and took out a book to read. A piece of paper fell out. A letter she’d used as a bookmark.

Twenty years ago.

The letter was the original booking confirmation for the hotel.

And with my detective work, I had got us a room in the right part of Paris, the right hotel, the right floor and just two doors away from where we were in 1994.

Weird to think that the hotel had stayed there all this time. (It has changed its name but only slightly; it’s old name is now prefixed by a different company’s one.) Very strange to see the place from Apple Maps and Google Maps, neither of which were imagined or maybe imaginable back then.

And very weird to think that amongst so much change in the world and in my life, Angela is still with me.

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