“Two weeks together, that’s all it took, two weeks for me to fall in love with you”
From Nicholas Sparks’ Dear John
A Cigarette Break
Then the lights came on.
We were all a few more drinks in and going home was the last thing on our minds. I followed my friends and as we left El Latino we found ourselves surrounded. The crowd, emptying the bars and filling the Rue de la soif, struggled to find their bearings; it was too dark and every square inch of the small, cobblestone street was occupied by people and smoke. Men with wandering eyes tried to get someone to take home; it was a last chance to fill their lonely bed. While the women decided whom to go home with.
After a momentary separation, I was reunited with my group. Though Kayla kept an eye on me, I walked with French James Dean all the way back to Le P’tit Vélo, which was one of the few bars not closed for the night. This translated into a very crowded bar. We each pushed our way through to get another round of drinks. There was no place where we could all sit together, so the group broke down into threes and fours. FJD, two other Americans, and myself found a table against the wall. Because I was too short to stand at the tall table with ease, FJD got someone at the bar to give me their chair. My feet, which were trapped within a cute pair of heels, were grateful.
The four of us chatted for a bit, though it was hard to hear each other over all the crowd. A lot of our conversation was in English, FJD tried to follow but I could tell he was getting bored. He leaned over to me and asked if I wanted to go outside. At first, because he was talking low, I thought he asked me to go home with him, which I started to decline, however, no doubt after seeing my concern, he repeated himself. I agreed to go with him; it was nice outside after all.
It was a little chillier out than I remembered; the crisp spring air was working hard to sober us up. We sat down on the curb just across from Le P’tit Vélo and he started rolling himself a cigarette. I wanted to seem cool, but I had never seen anyone roll a cigarette and I just stared. After he lit it, he offered it to me, but I simply put my hand up to signal, “No thanks.” He took a drag then immediately started kissing me. Either he wanted to share the smoke or he was trying to warm me from the inside out. Whatever the reason was, I didn’t care.
People walked by and we just continued kissing in between drags.
El Latino and Liquid Courage
As the drinks poured and our dialogue became slurred, we decided to head to another bar, El Latino, where the cozy dance floor gave strangers a reason to get close. One of my favorite bars on Rue de la soif, the brightly painted walls takes everyone who enters away from France to a latino paradise. Our group pushed our way to the back of the bar to a small sub-room lined on all sides with bench-style seating. The air was thick and the music boomed in our ears, I don’t exactly remember what was playing when we first got there, but then Michel Teló’s Ai Se Eu Te Pego came on and we made a unanimous decision, solely through eye contact, to join the crowd of dancers.
I smiled at French James Dean who was sitting across from me. With liquid courage pumping through me to the beat of the music, I couldn’t wait any longer. I stood up and reached for his hand,
“Come on, I want to dance!”
Not understanding a word of English didn’t keep him from understanding me. We were face to face, or rather face to chest; I didn’t realize how tall he was until I was standing next to him. We danced. Because of the music, we couldn’t hear anything the other said, so we communicated with our eyes, with our bodies. He pulled me closer as the beat dropped and we danced more closely.
Through the crowd of dancers who seemed dependent on close contact to remain upright, I glimpsed Kayla. She looked concerned for me; she was following the unspoken girl code which dictates that friends save friends who are dancing with creeps. But I, being almost hypnotized by James Dean’s good looks, gave her a thumbs up to signal that I wanted to stay wrapped in his arms.
We danced. Closer and closer, until there was nothing separating us but his leather jacket and my purple, lace top. Then he gave me that look, the one that begs permission, then lifted my chin up and bent over slightly to kiss me.
The crowd, the music, the worries, they were all gone. Everything faded away. In that moment, I forgot who and where I was. It was only him and I. It was the kind of thing that happens in book and movies; certainly not to Midwest gals. A kiss that lasted forever and no time at all. I don’t remember how long we stayed like that, but we held each other close, not wanting the song to end.
(still not sure about the title of this series)
This quote I picked up from a girl who lives in my apartment complex. We randomly met at the pool the other day through a mutual friend. After two hours of bathing in the suns rays and soaking in the chlorine-saturated, public water, I was introduced to the whole friend group, invited to have pizza, and welcomed into their apartment and fully stocked bar.
She shared everything, to me, an almost complete stranger, and expected nothing in return. Perhaps it wasn’t a grand gesture to some people, but to me, a girl who has had to work hard for what I have, it was more than a slice of pizza or a drink. It was neighborly kindness that gave me a new way of thinking.
Instead of counting what I have, putting my name of everything I place in the fridge at work, keeping track of how much money my roomies owe me, tallying the number of granola bars my friend “borrows”… I’m going to just give in, give in to generosity.
C’est salement romantique
It was April 5th, nearly midnight, and I was a half bottle of wine and two tequila shots in.
He was tall with dark hair, dark jeans, and a dark leather jacket. I instantly thought of James Dean when I saw him; I wondered if this rebel had a cause… He sat right across from me; our melange of francophones and American college students had decided to go to Le P’tit Vélo, a small bar near Place de la Lice. I noticed that he was staring at me, but not saying much. I leaned towards my bestie, Kayla, and she confirmed what I was thinking – he was cute and clearly interested. Most of us were speaking English, that’s what study abroad students do on their time off. James Dean understood only a handful of the words that were being drunkenly slurred across the table, but I did hear him when he whispered to his friend, “Elle a les plus jolies yeux.” She has the most pretty eyes.
I was smitten. When a brooding, French James Dean falls for a sophomore from the Midwest, she can’t help but fall too.
(the title is also the name of a fabulous song by Cœur de Pirate)
One, Two, three…one, two, three…one, two, three… from the waltz to Ke$ha’s Tik Tok, we are surrounded by songs. In our iPhones, in elevators, in the background on tv, even in our heads. To list just three songs that are significant in my life would be insufficient, even a dozen wouldn’t be enough.For every place, every occasion, every mood, there is another song. Certain songs remind me of where I’ve been and people I’ve met, while others make me think of what the future brings. Still others get me ready to hit the town or calm me down to write a French paper.
Instead of writing about three songs, here’s a list!
- Feeling Good by Michael Bublé
- Place de la République by Cœur de Pirate
- Take On Me by A-ha
- One World sung by Celtic Thunder
- Lauren and I sung by Keith Harken (Celtic Thunder)
- I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday
- Marlene by Noir Désir
- April in Paris sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
- Je ne veux pas travailler by Pink Martini
- I Hate Sleeping Alone by Drake
- Hero/Heroine by Boys Like Girls
- Ride by SoMoo
- Beyond the Sea sung by Bobby Darren
- Ai se eu te pego by Michel Teló
- Galway Girl sung by Mumford and Sons
- Timber by Pitbull
- Tik Tok by Ke$ha
- and the soundtracks from Midnight in Paris and and DISNEY movie ever made!