This entry is dedicated to a very good friend of mine, she is a really amazing, wonderful and beautiful person and late one night on an IM client, she inspired me to write this little short story for you all to enjoy.
Do you know that feeling? The one where you wake up, the sun is streaming through the windows and the first thing you do is smile, squint your eyes a little and then raise your arms over your head to stretch? That's what my life is like every morning now. I graduated from Berkeley just a couple months ago and I found this job working in Paris as a researcher for some big professor at the Ecole de Beaux Arts. So I spend my mornings combing through the libraries looking at folios filled with drawings of buildings and paintings. I really couldn't get an even more cultured look into French life than this. After spending my mornings sifting, I stop by the school, present my findings for an hour or so then I have the rest of the day off. Normally, if I was still back home I would go straight back to all the libraries. But after the first few weeks of doing so, I'd forgotten about the world outside of the library and that I was in, of all places, Paris!
So that's what it's like to wake up in my life. Following my usual ritual of morning research, I made the presentation and was out at two. I returned to the little flat in the suburb of Belleville to drop my things off. Around me, people in the building were artists, writers, the poor and the thinkers. The first day, I made friends with most everyone in the building and the building certainly is a bit safer knowing who's who. On the ground floor, there is a small little grocers and every night, I would buy all my meal ingredients there. The man who runs it is a nice old chinese man who lives by himself in the back.
Up at the flat, I picked up the receiver of the telephone on my desk and called a taxi company. I felt like exploring some of the other suburbs of Paris today. Or maybe one by one. Within a few minutes, a small Citroen taxi was shaking underneath my window with the horn bleating, begging for my presence. I hopped in and the driver stared at me. "Montmarte, merci si vous plait." The cab sped through the narrow streets, passing street cafes and parks, by artists painting on canvases, musicians playing in circles. The narrow alleyways of Belleville were behind us soon and we entered Menilmontant, the steep part of town, and soon, the wide avenues of Montmarte became our raceway. The driver stopped in front of the Moulin Rouge and I paid him and he sped off looking for the next venerable fare.
Feeling a little hungry, I found a cafe and ordered a light salad. I placed my little side bag on the chair beside me and pulled out a copy of Fitzgerald. I started to read as the coffee was placed on the table with a jug of ice water and a warm glass, still steaming from a hot bath. As I continued, the world I sat in seemed to swirl in with the Paris in Fitzgerald's books. I was lost in a smile, and I didn't really notice the boy at the table across staring at me. It must have taken awhile for me to notice him because when I finally did look at him, his coffee cup fell from his hand onto his saucer. Snapping out of it, he realized his lap was full of cold coffee and rushed to grab the table linens to start blotting his lap. I laughed, as he did, he looked up at me again. His hair was greased back, his jaw firm and prominent and covered in stubble. His green eyes were hidden behind a pair of rimless glasses. Well dressed with the exception of the coffee stain, he stood, all six feet two of him and sat in the chair opposite mine. Somewhat shocked, I tried to compose myself and look further into the text. He sat there, then leaned forward, putting his chin on his hands.
The salad arrived, I put the book away and looked at him. I raised a finger, at him. He looked confused, he looked around, his locks of hair bouncing back. He then pointed at himself with a look of bewilderment. I shook the coco-nut. He didn't get I wanted him to go back to his seat. Finally, in French, «Please, go back to your seat, you're not going to find anything here.» Dejected, he sat down back at his table, now stained with coffee. I finished the salad, and left. But not without noticing him following me.
I stopped at every famous landmark, the Moulin de la Galette, The famous Moulin Rouge as well as Le Chat Noir. By now, the evening dusk was starting to envelope the city. I hailed a cab, and as I entered, he entered as well. He immediately ushered the cab driver to the VIIIe arrondissement. As we sped down the thoroughfares, I wondered if this man was going to kill me, or worse, take advantage of me. I tapped the driver to let him know I was going somewhere different. He realized the mistake and let me off. I merely waved the hand as he stared in surprise through the back window. I hailed another cab and this time, it went back to Belleville.
Living my life, I wouldn't know how to describe it for you. The boys are nice, but there are some days, I have to beat them away with a stick. Even if they're a handsome Parisian boy. As I got out, I saw another cab pull behind mine, and somehow, it was him. The cabs drove off, and as I tried to get the key in the lock, he swooned up to me. «You know, i've been following you all day. I think you are a gorgeous girl, please. I would like to get to know you.» I merely stared at him, and doing the typical American thing, I said no and walked through the door. I opened my windows to the street and he still stood there. I looked at him. «Go Away!»«At least tell me your name.» I finally caved in. "Lindsay." I saw him mouth the word in the streetlight. His heart seemed to just flutter.
I went to bed that night flustered.
Remember how I described mornings to you? Waking up with a smile, with the sun streaming through the shutters, and the birds chirping and pidgeons cooing on the gutters? Well, imagine that, but finding the room had been opened while I was asleep and then suddenly filled with flowers of ever kind. I frumpled my face and only could start to imagine what Ashley would do if she found out I was turning down a European man.