I’m still chained to my bed in Paris.
His “precautionary read” was The Economist. Serious. I was seriously hoping it was going to be a novel, a classic, but perhaps he has already devoured them all.
I arrived five minutes later than 18:20. I got out of the metro, moths in my light stomach. I’m doing this. I’m doing this. I cajoled myself into rounding the corner. I noticed him immediately. He looked like the photo, perhaps slightly better. Definitely older. The moths in my belly batted their wings against the glass globe. I took a deep breath to cool them down.
He was drinking Schweppes. I was reminded of Uma Thurman lusciously mouthing, “I want to have Schweppes with you” and hoped that it wasn’t a discrete message he was sending me.
He didn’t stand up. I sat next to him. At first, it felt like a casual business meeting. His whole look was business. Except for his jeans. They must have been as old as I was. Light blue and soft. A no hit and miss.
He told me his story. He was indeed a Yale alumni, with a degree in literature, who then went on to do something great in one of the world’s largest corporations. Sooner than later, he realized that “great” and “corporation” don’t walk hand in hand. Bad things are planned seated around large tables in the shadow of the public eye, the rumours that we hear are true, he confirmed. He is married, but separated, and a father. His manner of speech was calm and contained, I was almost entranced. Now it was my turn.
My story. My story was not as long or as fascinating, but we discovered that we did indeed have things in common. Not credentials, not experience, but a certain espoir en tête and a certain disenchantment with the way things were currently going. It’s the ability to balance the two, to struggle with the sway between naïve hope and total abandonment that kept us going. At least that, we had in common.
Was I attracted to him? He had nice hands and a soothing voice, but that was as far as I could go. I was more enthralled by his overall character, an acquired calmness. I sat there looking out unto the buildings bathed in orange sunlight, smiling inwardly at the circumstances of this afternoon. Perhaps I’m too easily impressed by titles and such, but I don’t blame myself too much about it. For some, meeting Ke$ha would do it, for others, a war hero. It is the company of great minds (great and mind being relative) that stimulates us to aspire to something, even if that something is a second cup of coffee or Schweppes.
We said goodbye, that we’d keep in touch, that September was just around the corner, that it would not hurt to meet again. It had been a pleasant afternoon, cooler and more contained than the rush through the streets with Lucifer, and I was willing to leave it all to the future, once more.
As he disappeared into the distance, I sat down in the nearby square to let it all sink in. I was early for my next rendez-vous.
“C’est bon, je suis a l’heure, je prendrai le metro. Le resto n’est pas loin de Chez Prune, on peut se rencontrer devant.”
“Ca marche. Je pars de chez moi. Bisous”
I clicked my heels (I didn’t), and descended into the mouth of the metro.