You’ve read about how I met my husband in Some Enchanted Evening. I invite you to share the inevitable next step of our courtship.
How about a little fun? How about a story about a first kiss, that led to a second kiss, that led to years and years of kisses.
This is where Alan kissed me the first time, in my kitchen, with his body pressing mine into the edge of the counter.
A midsummer’s eve, with us racing up the back stairs to my apartment so I could grab something and we could rush out the front door to his car and the next place we had to be, the next party of friends who were waiting for us.
Here’s another essay I wrote while living in Paris in the 1980’s. The Men of Paris was the first.
April is the cruelest month
Breeding lilacs out of the dead land
Mixing memory and desire
Stirring dull roots with spring rain
So begins The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. My theory is that he was inspired by an April spent alone in Paris.
For one beautiful, radiant week in an otherwise dreary April I walked the boulevards and strolled through the parks of a city superbly designed for love. I was alone.
Alan and I drifted off to sleep Sunday night in a city caught in the final throes of winter, with a cold rain pounding against the bricks of our courtyard and a northern wind rattling the wooden shutters closed tight over our windows. Early the next morning as I waved from the balcony as the taxi took him to the airport I saw that, voila, the amazing yearly miracle had happened over night.
Are you prepared for yet another side of me, from a different medium?
A few weeks ago a reader approached me and asked if I would like to be part of her new project. I like new adventures, so my answer was yes. With her help and that of a friend or two of mine, we put together a vaudiotext of the story Valentine’s Day. The result is that a piece of The Diary of the Vixen Divorcee is now on YouTube.
If you’re interested in learning more about vaudiotexts, or making one yourself, go to www.vaudiotext.com.
Note to self: Never try a mind-altering substance while boarding public transit.
Good advice, don’t you think?
I wrote that note to myself 26 years ago because I foolishly swallowed a bit of Ecstasy right before climbing on a crowded bus on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Paris.
I recently found it in the side pocket of an old handbag I was about to throw out. The note was slipped between a few used metro tickets and a business card from a restaurant. I’d forgotten about that afternoon until chancing upon this yellowed slip of paper.
I blame Alan for what happened. What good are ex-husbands if you can’t blame them for your follies? His Swiss friend supplied us with the chemically pure formulation. His knowledge of chemistry convinced me I wouldn’t hurt my mind or body with this pill.
We each popped one and then hopped onto the bus headed for Les Trois Quartiers, a chic department store surrounded by the best food shops in Paris; Hédiard, Fauchon, and Marquise de Sévigné. None of these were places Alan had ever visited. What better idea than to explore them on a sunny afternoon in September?
Les Trois Quartiers to the left, the church of the Madeleine to the right, our bus pulling up right in the middle.
When Alan loved me, his love wrapped around me like velvet; tender, caressing, sensual. I moved through the world as if I were always enfolded in the black velvet cape he gave me for my 50th birthday.
He remained infatuated with me at the time of this birthday. After knowing each other for 20 years, he still beamed like a boy as I pushed aside the white tissue paper and unfolded the long, hooded cape from its box. He knew me well, knew I’d be delighted with this gift. Still, I could see in his eyes that bit of doubt. “Maybe she won’t like it, maybe it’s all wrong,” he was thinking.
I threw it over my shoulders, pulled the hood over my head, admired myself in the mirror as I stroked the soft fabric, then twirled to enjoy the feel of it billowing out around me. I looked at him, at the happiness in his eyes now that he was sure of my pleasure at his gift.
I am one of the women in this painting by Gustav Klimt. The other figures are of the readers who leave comments on my posts. They are also their lovers, children, friends, spouses, all the people that they tell us about.
I am entangled in the web of words that they leave. They are my joy each time I dip into The Diary of the Vixen.
I’ve done this before, and I’m going to do it again – suggest that
Andrew Marvell said it best back in the 17th century. I have never come across anything written before or since that more convincingly and beautifully expresses the compelling reasons to indulge in passion.
Alan, my ex-husband, the scientist, would never have come across this poem before meeting me. I wouldn’t have expected him to know it. But bless his romantic heart, he learned To His Coy Mistress, and would, when the moment was ripe, pull out a few select lines. Always with the desired results.
But my own romantic heart hungered for more. I wanted what he could never have done. I longed for the man who, in a moment with stillness hanging heavily around us, would recite, unbidden, those lines for me.
I teased Alan that I would give myself, body and soul, to the man who did that.
French sculptor Auguste Rodin captured how I anticipated responding to an impromptu recitation of “To His Coy Mistress”.
Digging through my desk recently I came across a long-forgotten folder of sketches I’d written when Alan and I were living in Paris in the mid 1980’s. Here’s one of them.
Contented marriage to a handsome American man hasn’t keep me from observing the beauty of Parisian men.
I started observing my first day in Paris, one of those rare bright February days when everyone strolls the boulevards to get reacquainted with the sun. The Champs-Elysees was packed. Our taxi was stuck in traffic. He jogged up to the corner from Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, hesitated a bit, then thread his way in front of us, through the honking jam of buses, cars and taxis. Light brown hair blown back from his face, except for the comma that fell over his forehead. Strong square jaw, high cheek bones and heavy-lidded eyes. He must be a movie star or at least a male model, I thought then. Now I know he was probably an architect, bank clerk or accountant. Handsome men aren’t that uncommon in Paris. I see at least one a day.
Here we are, stuck in traffic. Can you pick out the man I spotted?
Alan, my former husband, and I concocted our fantasy business while idling in coffee shops and wine bars. The mission of this company was to help broken-hearted lovers bring closure, dramatic and final, to their relationships. We were inspired by Paul Simon to help people in pain with their struggle to be free. We, of course, were never going to be in pain, never struggling to be free.