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July 8, 2013

An acquaintance is driving you home after a long exchange at a café. This marks the first occasion on which you have ridden through this part of Metz. The evening air hangs still above the Moselle. You lean your head against the window and watch the passing black trees.

Your acquaintance swears softly in French as she meets another one-way street. Due to the pedestrian zones of Centre Ville and the smaller islands of the Moselle, southbound traffic is diverted along the outer islands. The one-ways are numerous, and she has not often driven through this area.

To pass the time, you ask her how she finds Metz as a city. She grows silent for a time and, at last, gives a tentative answer to the effect that it is very French, and then enumerates the qualities that make it so: monuments, parks, the architecture, the long sense of history and place.

You mull this over as she drops you off at the door of your residence. Perhaps, she speaks the truth. Yet she is not native. She is not local. She is not Messine. But, perhaps, she is not wrong.

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