Today I walked along the seine under the beautiful Paris sunlight. I was grazing through the small souvenir stands looking for something special and Parisian to send my people back home. After I purchased a post-card and played with a few trinkets I focused on getting back to my apartment, which was just a few blocks away from where I was. I had almost reached the cross walk when a collection of painted water colors caught my eye. While my feet stopped, the music from my headphones continued to play, and so I pivoted and directed my focus right over to the artist and his paintings. The image to call me over was a small hard paper water color of the eiffel tower with the back of a figure in the fore-ground. It was lovely and so I squatted to inspect it closer. Yes, it had a nice fluidity to the painting, nice balanced colors and it was thought provoking with the person who seemed to be contemplating; however the most significant part of the piece was the artist's signature. F. RUDHA.
I immediately looked up at F. RUDAH who was already watching me closely with sunken eyes inside a rounded tired face.
Parlez vous anglais?
Oui, a little.
I asked him how he said his name and he replied by saying it just the way I assumed it would sound. Exactly the same as mine! Sure we're a few letters off, but to meet another Rouda/Rudah on the streets of Paris was serendipitous!
We got to talking, as best we could given the minor language blocks, and it turns out F. Rudah is an Albanian name while mine is derived from Polish decent.
Each of these cost twenty euro.
I rummaged in my bag, pulled out my coin purse and frowned a bit. He must've noticed my shift of energy.
You like this one?
Oui, but I don't have twenty. I only have the ten.
I showed him my ten euro with a sheepish grin.
For you, it's okay.
He smiled and wrapped up the little painting in a baggie and then I handed him the dix euro and that was that.
We both smiled, said "au revoir", and stored a shared memory of found family.
Had I not taken the scenic route home I never would have met this wonderful Rudah who reminded me art is universal- as well as reminding me of the connection and essence we have to our own names.
Now I've met an individual whose real name is the one hostesses tend to label my family for reservations.
RUDAH- RUDA, RUHDA. It's Rouda…