A Summer in Paris

May 21, 2012
Sitting on a brown, leather armchair with the latest copy of Uni-Presse, a French art magazine, Julia sipped her cappuccino and observed the American tourists around her pretending not to be one. They all had brand new, white sneakers on their feet and fanny packs or large, black, “professional”, Nikon cameras. Her favorite café, Café de Flore, was tucked away in the corner of Paris, but somehow the tourists managed to find it. All the tourists walked around pretending that they were not tourists, though it was obvious to everyone. Julia was surprised that it was not obvious to them. There were trees surrounding the outside of the café, covering the entire building with shade as if the first glance could be a picture on a post card. The night was bright and warm. The summer time breeze refreshed and cooled her through an open window. The breeze rattled the leaves on the trees and made the birds sing as the sun started to fade away; the sky was an orange, red glow. Her summer had been busy, but full of beauty and bliss. She spent her summer so far in Paris observing art and reading classic novels. Her evenings were spent walking through le Jardin du Luxembourg and eating at her favorite café. She worked as a courier, purchasing and analyzing paintings and art pieces from the Louvre for larger businesses, hotels, and home decor. Julia had recently finished school at the Académie Internationale de Management for hotel and tourism management. It was not long until she would be leaving Paris to return home to the States at the end of the summer and though she had a wonderful experience, submerging herself with culture and art, she still felt as though she lacked the spark she wanted to experience.
Serenity and quiet surrounded her as she listened to nearby people talking. A view of a small village was straight ahead of her. When she looked up she saw small houses with thatched roofs and people walking through the village and others riding their bicycles; the sun shining in the sky and a slight breeze began to pick up. She did not want to leave this place.
She turned back to her book, but before she placed her eyes back onto the words covering the page, she noticed a man reading her favorite novel she had read many times before. Sitting right across from her, he sat with content and he was completely devoted to the story, not looking up or over for any reason. Minutes passed while Julia simply observed the man and wrote down small notes from her observations. It was merely a habit from analyzing paintings. Julia paid attention to every detail there was that would not have been noticeable to any person’s eye. His furrowed brow that showed he was concentrating on the deep literature, holding the book with one hand instigating that he was trying to come across as cool, but he still considered the novel one of his favorite books of all time. The overall look of the man was so centered that it could have easily jumped onto a canvas and become a painting.
The next day Julia returned to the same café in hopes that the man would be there again. Surely enough he was there. She became curious about him as she subtly watched him from behind her book. Then he got up to leave and her heart stopped as he looked over at her and made eye contact. His stare was strong and it seemed to linger. He slowly walked away and did not look back.
Every day for the next two weeks they had both went to that same café. Julia wondered if he was going for the same reason she was, to see her. Eventually, on one warm day, he walked calmly up to her, “Salut. Je m’appelle Louis. Je me demandais si vous vouliez prendre une marche avec moi?”
Her mind froze and she did not know what to say. She sat where she was in her armchair and completely froze over. She understood him perfectly, but she did not know whether to reply in English or French. Thoughts attempted to creep into her head and spark something for her to say, but the words were stuck in her mouth and would not come out.
“Oh- uh- oui,” Julia finally answered, “but you must know, I am American.”
He laughed and said with a warm smile, “I know. I could tell.”
Louis and Julia walked through the village as she paid close attention to the old buildings and small details. They walked on the long cobblestone pathway and eventually they lead themselves back to the main part of the city. Car horns honked and the bright lights sparkled. Excitement always filled the air in Paris. Every part of it was breath taking. As they walked, the busy city around them blurred out; they were so focused on learning more about each other that nothing else mattered. They explored each other’s thoughts. Julia told him about her job at the Louvre. Louis told Julia about his family’s small business. He worked in a local and well-known book store. Julia immediately recognized the name of the store and realized that she had in fact been there a few times during her stay in France. Louis was a language major and studied and analyzed old literature.
Before they knew it, it was 11 o’ clock and he was walking her home. The night light had fallen. Her apartment had vines growing up the brick walls on the outside and a small garden with blossoming flowers. Large iron gates were open and welcoming. She had found the spark she was looking for.

Scene 2
The summer was coming to a close; the air gradually becoming cooler and the nights seemingly becoming shorter. Neither Louis nor Julia wanted her to leave and they were unsure about everything. They did not know what was going to happen to them in the future. She packed up all of her things in her apartment; all of the books, clothes, photos, and more. The room was empty. The wooden floors were clean and shined, the curtains hung bare on the walls and nothing in the apartment was exciting anymore.
They said their goodbyes at the airport and began to get teary eyed. The two had decided they were going to stay in touch, but decided against him going with her. Louis needed to stay in Paris and help his family with the hop for the time being and Julia needed to go home and see her family. The airport was spacious and the rush moved her along quickly. The voice over the speaker, loud and deep, echoed through the building and bounced off the walls announcing the duration time until her flight was to leave. They lingered, but eventually separated. Louis looked back and eventually so did Julia; Deep breaths and small tears streaming down her cheeks, every step more painful than the first.
Once Julia returned home, she went on a walk through the town remembering her entire summer. She went to her favorite spot just over a hill with an abundance of small buildings. The buildings were short and white. They were plain as can be and not appealing to the eye. The hill overlooked the whole town and she had a perfect view of the sun hitting the horizon over the empty fenced off field. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and thought of Paris. How she longed to return already. She thought to herself and realized that she may never hear from Stephan again; what they had was amazing, but it could have finished as soon as she got on the plane. Leaning against a flat wall of a building, she closed her eyes again and then she heard his voice. She thought she was imagining it, but his nearly deep, sweet voice spoke again. She turned around and there he was. Standing with his hand propped against the wall. She was surprised, she couldn’t believe he was there; he actually came after her. “How did you know I was here?” she asked with calm curiosity in her voice.
“I asked your neighbor if she knew where you went off to,” he spoke with his accent that she had already missed so much.
They looked at each other intently as if they looked away.

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