“Do you want to go for a walk?” French James Dean asked.
By this point it was getting to be about 3:00 in the morning and almost everything was closed. The streets were growing silent and those who had been partying just twenty minutes before were slowly making their way home. I wasn’t sure if it was that last glass of wine or the thought of going back into the crowded bar, by now the only one still open, that drove me to say yes. Probably not the safest of decisions I’ve ever made, but I wanted to live every day in Rennes as though I might not have any more.
“Sure, why not.”
He took me by the hand and led me down the cobblestone road. The darkness was interrupted by street lamps that decorated the sidewalk every twenty feet or so. As we walked, he told me how he grew up in this town and knew every street by heart. He told me stories of his childhood and his family. Then he told me about his job and his girlfriend, both in a nearby town. I didn’t talk much. Although I speak French, I was so tired and frazzled by the whole evening, that I couldn’t put coherent sentences together. He didn’t seem to mind; I was grateful he never put me on the spot.
He pulled me to the left suddenly; we were still holding hands. The street lamps were gone and through squinted eyes I could make out the side of an old church. It wasn’t the breathtaking kind found in travel magazines, just a stone building that had seen a congregation through countless decades.
Our vocal conversation had fallen away and was replaced by a steady gaze. Neither one of us could turn our eyes from the other. To me, it seemed silent and ear-shattering all at the same time. Within seconds, one hand pulled me close while the other cradled my face bringing me in for a kiss.