Yesterday, late afternoon, my cell flashed a number I didn’t recognize, but with a country code that I did. 33.
France. That fine, flourishing, familiar place where I have friends – and lovers. The country that is home to my heart, where the streets energize me, the wine transports me, the art – even more so. And where I may indulge in the tongue of my choice.
Surely in a past life I was a flirty French shoe designer, or the inspiration for one while penning poetry!
Cultural… touch points
As for the lovers – for now, they’re part of another self, and other stories. Still, I’m happy that those with whom I’ve enjoyed delicious times remain in touch, and friends. It was one of those gentlemen on the phone yesterday, as though he could read my mood, my restlessness, even across thousands of miles of ocean.
“Viens me voir,” he said. His deep, gravely voice; I recognized it immediately though it’s been a while. Just the sound of it subtly shifts the interior temperatures in my rooms. I take off my scarf. I unbutton my sweater. “Come to see me. It’s been too long. You need the break, and we could work on some projects together.”
Projects, I think to myself, smiling. Actually, we had discussed certain collaborations…
When France calls, if I can – I answer. But I no longer have anyone to take my 16-year old so I can go out of town, anywhere. Then there’s the money situation, which makes a trip impossible. As if anticipating my thought process, he says: “I’ll get the ticket. Things are going fine. And you know you can stay with me.”
He has a two bedroom apartment, and the offer was genuine.
I was imagining the worn wooden floors that creak beneath my bare feet, the tiny kitchen where he taught me to make a mayonnaise, the lovely little salon with its view of the city, our picnics on the Moroccan rug. His bedroom. What goes on in his bedroom.
I plucked myself out of that reverie. My son is not mature enough to leave alone, and going off for a week is out of the question right now.
“I can’t,” I said. Silence. Then: “I’ll come there. You’ll still relax, and we’ll put our heads together, on… whatever.”
I smiled again. For a moment, scenes from French Kiss flickered through my mind. And others. What a dreamy prospect, having him here, even for a few days. Then again, I’d have to clean my house and that would be a nightmare. Of course, with the right motivation…
Then I thought of my 16-year old. Overnight guests have been rare, despite 8 years of being single. I’ve kept to my own rule: only if it’s a relationship, plenty of time has passed, and my kids are comfortable with the man. That has never included a purely sexual relationship, nor one that is sexual + friendship. There would be no explaining this man arriving from Paris, seemingly out of nowhere.
“It won’t work,” I said.
He took a long breath, and said he’d call again soon. I heard the regret in his tone, and though he isn’t a parent, he respects my priorities. So we’ll talk next week, perhaps visit online. Meanwhile, I’ve got images of the Eiffel Tower in my head, and others, to soothe my restlessness. For a little while.