“Will you meet me at La Tour Eiffel? Tonight?” I heard the sounds of a café in the background over the phone. Glasses clinking, French girls laughing- discussing their plans for ce soir, & the love notes of Parisian street music suggested he was already in the heart of the city.
And of course I was late….
The words rushed out, but I bit them back. Hold your cool. Don’t freak out.
My hands quivered as I laced up my boots, the phone nestled between my shoulder and flushing cheeks. Each robin’s egg blue bow needed to be tied perfectly over the leather to show off the shoe’s curved silhouette, but in my excitement I fumbled and my shoe slid off all together. My phone dropped too.
“Damnit!” He laughed, he understood. “I meant,” I said firmly, gathering my composure, “Sure, why not?” The French “Je ne sais quoi,” I repeated to myself silently. Don’t overdo it.
I wonder if he heard right through me. I listened to him take a drag from a cigarette, taking his time. “Will you like to meet me?” He repeated in that beautiful mixture of French and English. “S’il te plaît?”
Take three seconds to answer. I cursed myself for being a fool, and I cursed my beautiful shoe.
It’s difficult to convey that you’re absently watching the passing crowds through your boudoir window to your caramel-eyed, sweet-breathed French garçon when you’re actually flying about your room, trying to catch your boots. But I tried. “Sure, 6 pm? I can probably do that. Can we make it 6:15?” I pressed for effect.
But I should have asked for more time.
Paris has a way of keeping you in her streets, even when every single one of your dreams have told you the boy you’ve been waiting for is standing in front of a glittering tower.
You lose track of the hour, rummaging through vintage shops filled with the memories of les filles de Paris, and end up talking to the shop-owner, who told you the brown cloche with the tiny green feather you just bought was once owned by a woman from Milan: she moved here to escape a mad lover. You almost believe her. You hurry to the side of one of the glamorous French girls you met (she’s not out of your way, she promises, you won’t be late) and has stories you need to hear. She might insist her heart was recently broken, and she’s got wine. She’s charming and desperately needs une amie. You can imagine the red curve of her lips as she smiles, convincing you to stop by, just for a bit. But this was Paris, and I soon found out hearts were broken all the time, and they fell in love all the time.
Unfortunately I didn’t find out how deeply and suddenly they could fall for someone until hours later, at 7:15.