When people would ask me, why I was flying to Paris, I’d answer them simply: To fall in love.
But I wasn’t going there to fall “in love,” because, I thought, I’d already fallen “in love.” But I hadn’t. Hadn’t really fallen “in love.”
I’ve been living in Paris for almost a week. “Living in,” was a distinction pointed out by my Parisian last evening over dinner.
We’ve constructed a certain degree of routine: We grace each others’ presence over breakfast and dinner. Most of us think that there is a normal cadence of life between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but the night requires bed time. Well, yes it does. But why do we all assume that the hours between the end of dinner and the start of breakfast would consist of a great degree of personal compromise? Frankly, I find constraint very sexy! Why would two strangers strangle a budding friendship with debauchery?
I really care for my Parisian. He allows me to be me. He enjoys my company, my writing, my conversation. The longer the restraint the greater the degree of longing. My Parisian said to me last night while our entree plates were cleared, “It’s almost as though you’ve been here for longer than a week.” And then, while looking down at his lap, he admitted, “I’m going to miss you terribly when you leave.”
I’m not one for goodbyes, especially premeditated ones. What he said continues to reverberate in my heart, causing an ache which is so painful, it’s as though God himself was wringing it out like a dishrag.
This morning I said, “You know, I don’t have a home. This hotel is my home. This garden is my garden; this dining room is my dining room; the hotel staff greet me every morning and evening as Mr. Didrickson; after you leave for work, they know that I retire to the garden for a cigar, and they’ll bring me two triple espressos while I ruminate about my afternoon’s writing; and they know that you and I dine every morning and evening. I’m treated as an expat writer, living in Paris, and enjoying the intimacies of a younger Parisian. And like all top-notch personal service, they are committed to Our happiness, which, by the way, is seen as natural and lovely.
“Do you know why?” I asked my Parisian.
“No,” he replied while shaking his head.
Leaning toward him I whispered, “Because what they see is a very special friendship, and they are so pleased to be a part of something so magical.”