Diary of a Parisian Love Affair and Romantic Awakening
I was walking in Paris in the rain and I was 21 years old. I was alone, but I did not feel alone. It was my first time there; my first time anywhere really. I remember feeling so free. I was enthralled with the city…its smells, its sites, its sounds…I was in a trance until I bumped into him. He was tall, with wavy dark hair, and warm eyes that smiled. His name was Daniel. Somehow the hesitant me didn’t surface with him. It was as if we’d know each other forever. Laughing, we figured out that his English was better than my French, we walked the city together—talking about our lives, our loves, our dreams. Even in our long stretches of silence, there was a sweetness, a glance said so much, feeling at home with each other. After the rain, we sat in the park as young children sailed their boats in the pond, while I sketched his poetic face. When we ended up in his apartment the hesitant me did not surface again. Back home I would never enter a stranger’s apartment. But in this moment I was different. I felt safe. I felt at home, here, with him.
He gave me one of his sweaters to wear, cozy and warm, like his apartment. He made me coffee in a bowl. He showed me how to dip fresh baguette and butter into my coffee. I was at ease. More than that, I felt beautiful. I felt more myself than I ever had…
At night once again we explored this beautiful city, enjoying the rich food and wine at local cafes. Strolling down the Champs-Élysées, we would stop to listen to the soulful music of the street musicians while he would gently touch my body, as if no one could see us. It was like a dream. Later In his apartment we continued to explore each other’s bodies deep into the night. Somehow it felt forbidden. I knew he was at least 20 years older than me, but I didn’t care. I wanted him to touch me. I wanted him.
I stayed with Daniel for a few days while in Paris. Now, years later, the tiniest of things is stirring these kinds of memories. Reminding me that I was once a romanticist. Calling to me to be that romanticist again. Awakening all kinds of wonderful emotions mixed with, yes, fear. Today I looked at some pictures from that time, calling me to take another romantic journey (making me think of Paris, of him). We’ll see where it takes me.
Additional photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia