My “religious” philosophy and idea of faith is undoubtedly confusing and convoluted. But for those of you who have sat through my long and winding explanations of why our lives are glorified RL Stine Choose-Your-Own-Ending novels, I think I have a newfound appreciation for the author’s ability to foreshadow. There have been clues, the more I think about it, that I would end up here in Aix. And after writing a reflection on Alphonse Daudet’s “Lettres de mon Moulin” I realized that Paris, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, was never really an option for me because, en fait, I was always supposed to end up here. I was never overly educated in the small towns of France – in fact, the most I heard of them was when Belle sang of her life “in this small Provencal town” in the opening sequence of Beauty and the Beast.
But, for some reason, ever since being assigned the artist Paul Cezanne in 7th grade for a French project on French artists, the name “Aix” has always stuck with me. It would pop up at random moments – in conversations, in paintings that I came across at random junctures of my life, in articles that I’d find dispersed throughout the pages of my morning paper (yes, I’m a 50 year old businessman at heart). And upon hearing these simple three letters strung together into a word, my mind would race back to an image of a bearded artist who spent his life around these cobblestone streets that all lead back to the Cours Mirabeau. I’m no art connoisseur, as many of my Art History aficionado-friends can attest to, which makes it all the more surprising that this project of little life importance would stick with me so much throughout my life. And I guess, in the end, I can thank Miss Kress for helping the author of my Life Novel write me a chapter where I spend 4 months in the South of France.
Still, it’s strange realization to come to – knowing that you’re just where you’re supposed to be, no matter how much you cried and said you wanted to go home in the beginning. I believe now that all the butterflies, all the anxiety, all the half-pronounced, half-swallowed unsure French syllables, were pre-written to bring me to my current point: far more self-assured, far more self-reliant and far more confident with my ability to overcome any difficult situation. And I think that’s what I was directed here for. I’m pretty sure that this chapter of Ali Vitali was meant to be one of character development and overcoming obstacles – another example, I’m sure, of foreshadowing because I’m positive that another circumstance like this will come up in my future. Knowing me, nothing can be done easily – everything has to be a battle of sorts, usually of my own doing. Yes, Dad, like father like daughter. But we come out better off that way, don’t we? At least, I think we do. And now I can go back to sitting in the closest thing to a PJ’s Coffee Shop I found here, Book In Bar, and enjoy the fact that, for right now, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Everything really does happen as it should.