“Tu viens ici souvent?”
“Je suis désolé… I, uh… I don’t really speak much French I’m afraid. Parlez-vous anglais by chance?”
“Oh, thank the lord! All I really know are a few pick up lines myself.” She could see the relief in his eyes as he took a swig of his beer. “I should have invested in some French lessons before coming here.” His sheepish grin was inviting, and contagious it seemed. Lily smiled back at him before feeling a blush rise to her cheeks. She looked down to avoid his gaze and took a sip of her wine. Suddenly she was the shy introvert from small town Canada again.
Lily was excited to be in such a beautiful city enjoying all it’s sights and sounds. Paris in the spring was everything she knew it would be. Cliché right? Paris in the spring. She had dreamed about it since she was a little girl when her father would tell her tales of his globe trotting adventures. He shared stories of safari in Africa, the markets in Istanbul, the temples in Thailand… but nothing captured the dreams of a wide eyed little girl quite like Paris.
So far it was living up to it’s reputation as a beautifully romantic city. Although she was wandering it alone, it didn’t stop her from enjoying every minute of it. She did all those things you were told to do when visiting for the first time; a picnic on the lawn of the Champs de Mars beneath the Eiffel Tower, a rose gelato from Amorino while sitting on the banks of the Seine, visiting Jim Morrison’s grave at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. She had even waded through the crowds at the Louvre for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, the one thing that had left her unsatisfied.
Tonight she decided to check out the nightlife along the Rue de Charonne. She had heard it was a popular student district with lots of trendy bars and clubs. If she was going to have a great romantic fling she would need to put herself out there and go find one. She had dreamed of a handsome young French man who would sweep her off her feet and would be so captivated by her beauty that he would have to have his way with her immediately. Ah, dreams. He may not have been French, but it wasn’t long before the guy with the sheepish grin found her.
They went back to Lily’s hotel room that evening and spent the next two days naked and in each others arms. They shared their dreams and desires for their future with each other. They talked about their families and their lives back home. She was from a small central Canadian town and he was from the US mid-west. Relatively close but still a world apart. Their time together was everything she had dreamt it to be and more. She didn’t want it to end and couldn’t help but feel sad when they had to part and return to their lives.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The flight home was a long one for Lily. She was crammed into a middle seat at the very back of the plane and thinking about Andrew the entire time. As she sat waiting for her girlfriend to pick her up at the airport she spotted a familiar face in the crowd.
“Andrew,” she called out to him.
He turned towards her and showed the briefest recognition before turning back to his wife, taking her hand, and walking out into the night.