In the shadows of the darkness I hang my head and stare down at my feet. Little streams of water flow between the grooves of the cobblestone forming a puddle around my black Vans. What am I doing here again?
I am in Paris. One man keeps me coming back; this, being my third time. In my twenties we met. At the time, I had a shitty boyfriend, and out of anger and desperation I opened a dating app and found Andrae. A quick and spontaneous trip to Paris for the first time ever and we became friends. Andrae did confuse me though. Not once did he touch me. Not a kiss, not a hug... nothing. Not even when I slipped into a black satin negligee and lay next to him in my hotel bed all night long. The second time, I was here was in my thirties. That trip was also short lived. It is interesting being friends with someone that all of a sudden, propositions you with a want to marry for citizenship benefits. I was in a transition in my life. I also, was raising my two children alone since I had divorced my longest running shitty choice in men. I couldn't help feeling now he became my friend only for this preconceived plan. I thought he liked me for more than just a passport and I took it all a bit poorly.
The puddle around my shoes has gotten bigger and deeper. I step backwards onto the first concrete stair in front of the little boutique that is closed for the night. I had left my hotel in the dark but it wasn't raining until I was too far away to turn around. The rain matches how I am feeling anyways. Andrae had been with me all day. He showed me around the tourist spots in Paris and bought us lunch, ice cream, and dinner. I am still confused by him. Had I married Andrae when he proposed the idea five years ago, we would have been done with the minimum time to be married for legal purposes, I would know French by now, be a European citizen free to travel how I want, and be able to divorce and start fresh again. The problem was, I have made so many bad choices in men, I didn't want to do it again. And having my children involved... would that really have been the best decision?
After a year of no communication he asked if I would come and visit again. I do have feelings for him and also needed a break from the monotony of daily life. So, I jumped on a flight, trying my best to have no expectations. It was a wonderful day today. But I suppose that became the problem. He walked a little closer and insisted on paying for everything. We laughed and talked comfortably all day and all night, ending with him at my hotel and in my bed still at this moment. How do you spend this much time and effort with someone and not show any emotions? Still not one touch?
I had to leave. I needed to get out and away from him to clear my mind, because at some point today, I found myself wanting more. He made it perfectly clear that we are to be only friends. He said that friends do not have sex because that would be using one or the other. I did not agree, but told him I can only respect his view.
So, now, here I am. Standing on a damp Paris sidewalk with only a few evenly spaced street lamps to warm the dark night. I suppose I should head back. It's not the safest idea to be alone at night as a woman... in any country.
The rain has subsided and I step off of the stair in the direction I had come from. My head is lowered as I focus on the splashes my shoes are making in the cobblestone puddles.
"Hey!" I hear faintly behind me. I walk a little faster.
"Hey! Kelly, stop!" I turn around and see Andrae. His black coupe driving up is a bright light in the dark. He stops the car in front of me and jumps out. "What are you doing? Are you crazy?! You should not be walking around at night alone." His hands are on the sides of my arms and he looks frantic.
"I am okay, Andrae. I just needed some time to think."
"Well, when I couldn't find you, it made me think too. Please get in the car and we can talk."
I nod my head and he escorts me to the passenger side and opens my door for me, makes sure I'm in all the way, purses his lips together and shakes his head at me. He gently closes the door. Andrae slides in the other side, turns on the heat and asks if I am warm enough.
"Oui, merci," I say and smile. Then, suddenly, my smile turns to shock as he quickly moves into me, his hand slides through my hair to hold the back of my head and his soft lips are finally on mine. The kiss is long and sweet and perfect.
Andrae pulls back slowly, his eyes locked on mine, searching for an answer to how I feel right now.
"Oh, yes. We really do need to talk," I say with a smile. A grin forms on his face and he relaxes back into his seat. He doesn't take his eyes off of mine as he grips the steering wheel and puts the car into drive.
"We can talk after I get you back into bed."