Paris brought with it a breath of fresh air, as the end of summer in London began to smother us with smog and sullied attitudes reappearing after the Olympic high.
While the streets are dirty and littered with cigarette butts, if you spend your days with your “tete dans las nuages” the architecture will send you spiralling into a love affair.
Luckily for me, I called up an old love I hadn’t seen in over a year on the chance he’d migrated home to Paris, and so I was lucky enough to enjoy a truly authentic Parisian date with a truly authentic Parisian man.
We get so used to our daily routine that sometimes something can come and tap you on your shoulder and it screams HELLO. And these are pieces of reality telling you: “hey, you’re alive and it’s great.” Like those moments of clarity in the midst of a tipsy stupor, I found reality suddenly come into focus and realized how beautiful the moment was.
And there I was sitting near Place Monge on a small metal folding chair on a narrow street, dressed in silk and stripes. I looked to my right and out stretched a quintessentially French cobbled road framed with orange lights and chequered table cloths where lovers, old and young, shared the last of the warm September nights that blessed Paris. And next to me was a beautiful Parisian man, a creative Bohemian showering me with compliments in a sultry French accent any girl couldn’t help but go weak at the knees at. I fell into the pools of his green-grey eyes and could barely concentrate for fear that I couldn’t take in every inch of this moment.
As it neared midnight I was concerned at the possibility of turning into a pumpkin and so we set sail toward the Metro and our goodbye after a night far too short for my liking. Life in the Latin Quarter was turning in and shutting up and as we walked down the cobbled streets only the sound of a solitary woman in hysterics echoed. He slid his arm around my waist, pulled me in tighter and spun me around so I faced him. And there we stood in a small square surrounded by trees and a fountain slowly trickling away in the centre, and he pulled me closer, tucked a stray piece of hair behind my ear, whispered my pet name from the many years before and kissed me. In the way they do at cliché movie endings when the hero and heroine are finally united. And everything around them sort of goes blurry and melts into the background. Because some kisses are like the first kiss every time. Some kisses can span the years and still bring you back to that same beautiful, unique feeling you get with the first.
But isn’t life beautiful? Isn’t it exciting to be genuinely surprised by what it has to offer. I had forgotten our passion, our love and our connection of the years before. I had forgotten that we had parted with not so much as a goodbye or a farewell all those years ago. That we had barely murmured a “how are you” over the years. That time and jobs and life had passed us by but what we shared was still there, still pure, still uncomplicated by reality.
Long pregnant pauses separated us in the Metro station, reluctant to part, and we stood as the world and the drunk passengers passed in a blur around us. But eventually the midnight bells were chiming and work called for both of us in a few hours so we parted ways and headed toward our respective platforms where we exchanged vaguely romantic words across the void of the railway tracks. It was like the year and half before when we both took off to opposite sides of the world with not much more than a goodbye kiss.
“Is it dangerous if I jumped across the tracks? … No, that’s too romantic,” he called as my train pulled up to the platform.
My train came and went and he blew me a kiss as I hurtled into the tunnel.
Yes, it was too romantic. And my night was perfect.