The Law of Universal Regression
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"'Paris is a very hospitable place,' she said. 'It accepts everything... Crime and infamy can find asylum here; only virtue has no altars here'"-Balzac "Sarrasine"
"This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds...""Anywhere Out of the World" Baudelaire
As a writer I often come across moments and wish I could end the story here. How happy a tale this little Paris narrative would be if as I raised my glass and smiled the camera slowly pulled back, eventually retreating from the warm yellow glow of the room to the lovely blue of the Paris street gently dotted with christmas lights and pulling back even further to eventually show the dark Paris sky dotted with stars? But the night was not yet over. Dinner was not yet over and so we must continue.
Laine cleared the dishes and we sat drinking wine for a bit. By this point, we were on our fifth bottle of red wine making the liquor tally so far 2 bottles of kir and 5 bottles of red wine plus joints beyond number. Was my flush of good cheer simply the pot and the wine and the food or was it a genuine rush of happiness? We sat at the table finishing the wine and having raspberry sorbet and pistachio ice cream with good Parisian coffee in little delicate demi tasses. After coffee was finished, we pushed the table aside and put music on and danced on the hard wood floor.
The French mainly listen to American music, which is fine, but it is amusing to listen to French people who don't know the words attempt to sing a long. I can only describe it as sounding like a hearing impaired jazz scatter attempting to accompany rock n' roll. They make a series of incoherent noises which seem to approximate the words, but seem to bear more resemblance (if listened to independently) to Arabic or Hebrew than English. We are too drunk and stoned to care about being "good dancers" or judging the talent of others. We smile and giggle and generally looked like a pack of well dressed Bacchae.
Laine had been wanting to go for a while. I can't say how I know, but I could tell that she was waiting for Sebastian to join her. Suddenly, she stopped waiting. She left the dance floor and got her coat. "I'll get a taxi" she explained, but I could tell she was unhappy that Sebastian did not offer to join her or even walk her to a taxi. She did not kiss me, but we said good-bye.
At this point, the party moved to the kitchen. Henri and Sebastian arm wrestled and joked with each other. Eventually I armed wrestled with Patricia and Sebastian. We (mainly Henri and Sebastian) finished the beer and we decided to drag ourselves back to the salon. By this time it was about 2 or so in the morning. Even Henri was staggering a bit. There was some more dancing, but I was getting tired or reaching my limit. I began to realize that the party was not going to end-it was going to continue raging on and on. I was a bit disappointed, but I also knew Henri and I were both way beyond the point of even wanting to have sex. Finally, I decided to go to bed. I told Henri I was tired and he led me to the bedroom. I took off my shoes and lay down on the bed over the covers. I don't know if they turned down the music, but I was immediately asleep.
I woke up at six in the morning. It was silent and dark and I was alone in bed. I felt around the mattress and no Henri. I got up and tiptoed into the kitchen. No Henri. The other bedroom. No Henri. The door between the living room and the hallway was closed. I'm not sure why, but I slowly opened the door.
It was dark in the living room, but not entirely silent. I could hear heavy breathing and as my eyes adjusted I immediately saw to figures writhing on the grand piano. I must say I immediately thought it was Henri and Patricia. I must have gasped and taken a step back because suddenly the light in the hall was on and there was Sebastian completely naked except for a throw pillow from the couch which was covering himself with. Patricia appeared in a minute later actually dressed. And there I am, dazed and still drunk and stoned trying to apologize and them saying "no no no it's ok" and me just trying to, I don't know, go hide of fucking shame in the back bedroom. Of course, finally they ask me what I had been doing, and how in that haze I was able to explain I was looking for Henri, I'm not sure, but they joined the quest. We found him asleep in a chair in the study. I pulled him into the bedroom where he shed most of his clothes and went right back to sleep.
Although I don't remember doing it, some time in the night I must have taken off all my clothes. Yes, all of them.
I woke suddenly at 930. I was still drunk and stoned. Everything in Paris seems surreal as it is, but when such massive amounts of liquor and drugs are involved, things devolve into a Burroughesque sense of reality. The sun was already out and shining through the window. The house was silent. I poked my head out of the bedroom. Sebastian was asleep on the grand piano, covered only by the sofa cover, which he was using as a sheet. I was in that dissociative dream state which is the only way of explaining what happened next. Despite being completely naked, I walked towards the piano and stood in front of Sebastian contemplating his face. He was both boyish and handsome, but around the corners of his eyes and mouth were wrinkles. He was beginning to age and I could tell already that he was not going to age well. Then I turned on my heel and went down the hall to the bathroom.
Whether it was the drunkenness or the standings or the generally bizarro quality of the entire evening, I wasn't really aware of my own nudity, if that makes any sense at all. I suppose you might liken it to those dreams where you are in front of class and suddenly discover you are completely naked. That moment BEFORE you realize you are naked, when you feel completely dressed and safe despite the absence of actual clothes. I came out of the bathroom and heard some movement in the living room. Why I went to the hallway to see, I don't know. I knew it was Sebastian.
In dreams I often see myself doing things, my consciousness watches my body move and talk, but there is no emotional involvement. I would be more emotional engaged in watching a stranger cross the street. The episode in the hallway had that kind of feel. As if I was not seeing Sebastian at the end of the hallway, but merely watching myself from a great distance.
I walked to the hallway to investigate the noise. Sebastian was standing there fully dressed, I was naked, but not really aware of being naked. We looked at each other for a moment. And then Sebastian avert his eyes and walked back towards the couch. I walked into the bedroom and suddenly threw on my clothes.

The Silent Silent Partner
"One should always be drunk. That's all that matters; that's our one imperative need." -from the prose poem "Get Drunk!" by Baudelaire

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I slept the whole day in my hotel room. I feel a bit guilty about it, but since I am given to migraines I justify my "nap" in that it cured my migraine and I could now enjoy the dinner party. Hanging with Henri is, at least, very economical as I get food, wine, and cigarettes for free. This is actually quite an incentive since Paris is very expensive. (At one cafe, a coke was 4 euro while a kir was only 2.50 euro.) In addition when Henri had fed me (the noodles and creme fraiche and sauteed onions) it was better than what I ate at the cafes ( which is saying a lot) and I hadn't done well with food this time on my own, so it meant a lot to be fed.
I go downstairs to wait for Henri and the concierge, a lovely dark haired girl, says "Are you going to stay out the whole night again?" I blush to the roots of my red hair. I open my mouth, but I have no idea what to say. Seeing my embarrassment, she quickly covered "Oh it's just, we were worried something had happened to you. It would help if I could tell the night concierge not to be alarmed." Finally I said, "Honestly I don't know, but I wouldn't expect a hasty return." She smiled and said that was ok and took my key. Henri showed up, and we went out onto the street. I was still incredibly embarrassed, but I had no way of explaining the event so I simply took his hand and walked down the street. Henri was telling me about dinner, asking me if beef "boeuf" was ok. (I guess he was concerned about vegetarianism.) I assured him that boeuf was fine. He had spent the afternoon with his brother drinking Guinness in some cafe. Of course, I find the one Frenchman who likes Guinness but at least we had something in common.
I went up to the apartment and Henri's friend Patricia, who I had met before and for some inexplicable reason thought was named Gail, was there. She kissed me and asked me how I was. We had a glass of kir and the smoking began. Henri had me taste the sauce, which I can only describe as a kind of creme-y mildly gorganzola sauce. Such a description does not do the sauce credit for it was delicious. The roast was sitting out on the sideboard, waiting to be put in the oven. Suddenly two more people came in. Now I thought, and I use this word loosely, that Henri's brother was married. I was fairly sure I had been told such a thing, but well perhaps Henri had meant his brother's "woman" and not his wife.
Sebastian, Henri's brother, was short and boyish looking and my first response was to assume I had misunderstood what Henri meant when he said "brother." Perhaps they were "blood brothers" or half brothers, but to look at these two and think they had come from the same family was almost inconceivable. Sebastian was accompanied but what was clearly more a girlfriend than a wife, called Laine. She was what I like to think of as typical French woman, her haired dyed black, her eyebrows plucked into thin lines, her lips painted a deep red. She was pretty, but not as enthusiastic as Sebastian who kissed me on the cheek without even knowing who I was. There were introductions and we all went into the living room to have more kir and cigarettes and allow Henri to prepare dinner.
Generally when I am not comfortable in a social situation or if the conversation topic is alien to me, I remain silent until the conversation turns in my direction. For example, last friday I was a birthday dinner. Most of the people at the table were PR people at one point I was surrounded by three people discussing former co-workers. Instead of attempt to break into the conversation, I simply sat and waited. Eventually one of the women by me began to ask me how I knew the birthday girl and the conversation started off. Incidentally, I was asked by an acquaintance at the table about Henri and gave a short short version to her, but then was asked by the others at the table to tell the whole story of meeting him. Instead of lying I told the truth ( as there were people at the table who knew the "real" story) and one woman loudly responded to the section where I went to Henri's apartment with "That was SO unsafe." I was very tempted to say to her "Listen, I was getting up in the morning and fantasizing about slicing my chest open with a knife. You don't even begin to know how unsafe I am on a daily basis. Going up to that apartment was actually relatively sane compared to my daily peregrinations." But I digress.
I sat silently for a bit smiling and nodding as the conversation prattled on. Laine suddenly turned to me and said in English "You understand?" I responded in French that I understood, but could not speak very well. And here I thought the whole business would end.
Sebastian made a show of speaking to me an English, extending a hand and saying "Nice to meet you" it was clear he didn't really know what he was saying. "You understand? That's right?" he asked in French. "Yes," I responded in the English, not quite understanding why they all laughed whenever English was spoken, "I understand." Of course I switched and repeated the sentiment in French.
So for me this evening would give me insight into the existence of deaf cousin. I always suspected that attempting to follow conversation based on facial expressions would be difficult and exhausting. I was right, even if my troubles ultimate resulted only in geisha like smiling and nodding. Sebastian, clearly the comedian of the group, made funny of my smiling and nodding by aping a Japanese tourist. To my smiling and nodding, he would press his hands together and bow several times smiling, and we would all laugh, but later I realized how funny that image really was. Your darling Bunni, the fear of the freshman class, the scourge of men everywhere seen as a meek little lotus flower.
And it was here that the hashish enhanced cigarettes began to be passed as well, only Laine abstained sticking with cigarettes. Sebastian passed me a joint and then when I went to pass it back made a big pantomime show of insisting he was a drug user. Finally he took it and pretended to cough at his "first hit." The joints from here one out were to be passed liberally, often two joints making the rounds between the four of us. We finished two bottles of kir and made our way to the table for carrot salad and pate. The salad, store bought, was bland and the pate was very rich. We began drinking red wine. Laine wanted to talk to me about my job. I was an English professor, but what did I do? Well normally I have a prepared little speech, but it was impossible for me to try to attempt it. I could have said simply that I teach reading and writing, but even in the US the response I often get is "shouldn't students already know that?" and I'm sure the Parisians would re-act in a similar way and I didn't want to get into that conversation while I was on vacation. So I lied. I told them I taught contemporary American literature, which isn't exactly true, but isn't exactly false either. Unable to say more, I let the matter end there. Laine continued by asking me if I knew any French writers, so I named the list "Voltaire, Racine, Rimbaud, Zola" "Oh," she said a bit dismissively "classic French authors." Yes well it is difficult to be on the cutting edge of contemporary French literature when you can't even figure out the ticket machine at Charles de Gaulle. The truth is I even taught French authors, but I was fairly sure that it wouldn't please them to know someone as ignorant in French as myself was teaching Candide in English. Sebastian tried to stop Laine from asking me, although whether it was because it was polite but boring conversation or because he sensed I was uncomfortable I can not be sure, but she said "No it's very interesting that she is a professor." And I'm sure it would have been if there had been a common language to discuss it in. Laine had just quit her job selling advertising time on TV to pursue "something artistic" and so as apparently the only "artistic" person in the immediate vicinity she wanted to talk to me. Laine persisted in her attempts naming American authors she loved, including Russel Banks, which she pronounced with such a hard k at the end of his name I almost didn't recognize it. I thought she might also know Rick Moody, but she didn't ( I translated Purple America as Les Etats Unis Violettes.)
The truth is I didn't want to talkbecause I was afraid of looking tres stupide, and this conversation made me extremely uncomfortable. I just wanted to blend in, not to be noticed, and the anxiety of the focused attention of course drove me to continue having glasses of red wine. The pate and carrots consumed, we were informed the roast would take some more time and we returned to the living room so that Henri and Laine could play guitar.
I should warn you that from here on out events took on a kind of Hunter S. Thompson chewing on an adrenal gland in the corner of a Las Vegas hotel room type of feel. I have pictures of the night, but the series of events is at times unclear as is my general perception of what actually happened. Up until this point Henri and Patricia kept asking me if I was alright, probably from the silence, and although it was sweet of them to show concern it only made me more uncomfortable, feeling like more of a failure, but from here on I don't remember people asking me if I was ok. Was I talking more or did it simply not matter anymore? Were we all so stoned that no one noticed that I was silent? I can't say. Nor can I say specifically the series in which certain events happened. I remember Henri sitting next to me on the couch when we were relatively alone and asking me if I was afraid to talk to his friends, I responded yes of course. When he asked why however I couldn't find the correct way to phrase "because I don't want your friends to think that I'm an idiot" and while I was working on this problem, words stuck in my throat, we were joined by the others. But I can not figure out where in the evening this exchanged occurred, before the carrots or after. And what immediately preceded it? I have no idea. So the best you are going to get from here on out is an approximation.
Henri took out his guitar and played a bit, and then Laine tried, but she found she had forgotten everything and handed the guitar back a bit abashed. Henri tried to teach me. He handed the guitar to me and I strummed a bit, but of course I couldn't figure out much (right right because wine, kir, and pot are really conducive to learning something that depends on manual dexterity-although it did change my adoration of Emmett Ray who often performed falling down drunk into near worship). Henri tried to teach me by sitting behind me and forming the cords, but he almost strangled me in the process. Patricia tried to play the grand piano, but couldn't remember anything and was reduced to chopsticks and other children's tunes. She accidentally put her wine glass on the top of the grand, when Henri reprimanded her for and she jokingly started playing with just one hand ( plot point).
As much as you need language for some things, travel arrangements, subway tickets, you don't need language for many other things. For example, Sebastian had two beaded bracelets, one on each wrist. Patricia admired one, and when Laine was in the bathroom he slipped it onto Patricia's wrist, but insisted she push it up past her sweater so it couldn't be seen. Henri did not see the exchange either, and well, I wasn't one to talk especially since I couldn't. At dinner, Henri made some comment I didn't understand, and the look Laine gave Sebastian was one I recognize often. It was the faintly amused but still "I can not believe your family, we are leaving as soon as this over" look. Love is not the only international language, so apparently is jealousy, sibling rivalry and familial tension.
Dinner was finally served, a nice cut of beef with the sauce and hand cut frites. The food was delicious, particularly the sauce. We finished dinner with a Bibb lettuce with a red wine and shallot vinaigrette and brie with baguette. We devoured everything. Sebastian actually some of the salad with his hands. He teased me by saying I ate like a butterfly, but whether he was mocking the delicacy with which I ate or the amount I couldn't say. The general assembly thought his joke funny and repeated his comment with little titters. After the food was gone, the plates were removed to the kitchen, Henri asked me how I was enjoying myself. I tried to call across the table to him, but he motioned I should join him. I sat with him and told him how much I was enjoying the night. And now it was true. In the beginning when I was being asked questions, when I was being wheedled I admit I was anxious and bored and after a point exhausted and hoping that dinner would be over soon so all these people would just go home and I wouldn't have to work so hard at understanding everything. But now filled with sauces and wine and let's not forget the continually circulating pot, I was filled with complete contentedness.
I thought of all the things that had to happen to bring me to that table. It had started with seeing the photograph of La Jeune Tarentine the first time I went into Eric 's apartment. And then Eric had to leave, or I definitely would not have met Henri. And then I had to meet UDR so that I could meet Nutreena who would be the motivating force behind thefirst trip. I had to lose my luggage. The Amazon had to go to St. Tropez so she could return before my visit and tell me "say please and thank you for everything." And even then, even if all those those events happened, if I taken one different turn, if I had hesitated at one crosswalk, or stopped to tie my shoe, I would never ended up at that table. And even of those tangical events, so many other events hinged on them as well, the Amazon had to be bit by a dog so that she could to St. Tropez. I had to happen to be in the coffee shop in the right moment to meet UDR. And if any one of those connections had failed? And even then, what were all the events that brought Henri there? He was on his way the opposite direction. What if it was a pressing appointment? What if he had gone home to Normandy for vacation? What if he had wanted to speak to me, but for whatever reason didn't? I thought of how many events, how many moments had to work in a seemingly monomaniacal focus to bring me to that table laughing and drinking-listening to Sebastian and Henri break into songs from their childhood, me actually managing to crack a joke at Sebastian, Patricia mugging a "pole dance" as she helped clear the dishes-to that table. And I thought "I am exactly where I want to be right now." It was a long timr since I had that thought, but in that moment, I loved the universe for bringing me to them. Henri lifted his glass to me "Mon cherie" I lifted mine in returned "Ma chere" the reigning king and queen of the dinner table.

The Summer Bedroom Posted by Hello

Sweet and Lowdown
" Excepting for monsters, don't all human feelings come down to the same thing, horrible disappointments?" -Balzac "Sarrasine"
This post is going to be VERY VERY GRAPHIC more graphic than any previous post. I have no issue with those who do not wish to know that much about me, so feel free not to read this post. For those who read this post and then regret it, well, I tried to warn you.
When I returned from dinner and window shopping, the concierge told me that the man who had been looking for me had called and he would call back. I went upstairs and showered and as I lay on my bed with a towel wrapped around me pondering if I should call Henri and tell him I was at my hotel, my phone rang. It was Henri and he tried to talk to me, but of course I got confused and so finally he simply said "cinque minute, cinque minute" and so I had five minutes to throw on clothes, comb my hair, put on perfume, daub on a minimal amount of make up and go into the lobby and act casual, like I hadn't put in any effort, like flying to Paris, at all.
Sitting in the lobby waiting for him, I was surprised by how nervous I was, how much fear was bundled into my body as I sat pretending to read. Finally he walked in, and again I was surprised by how relieved I was, how happy I was.
He took me by the hand and walked to his apartment. We talked in the way that we do which is simply that he rambles and I watch his face and judge by his expression whether I should smile or giggle or frown in consternation. Generally smiling and nodding is fine and allows him to believe the necessary fiction that I understand French but can't speak it very well. He jabbers on about his job and about how he doesn't like the cold. Paris is much warmer than New York and I would have told him this "Listen pal, you don't know from cold until you've gotten an ice cream headache just from breathing" which happens in NYC, but you know I don't even know how to begin to say such a thing ( although strangely I do know the words of ice cream and head ache and cold in French so what then keeps me from being able to put it all together I can't say.) He smelled better than any straight man has a right to smell. And no he had no slapped cologne over sweat, but he was clean and smelled of Guerlain. He had huge hands, which I had forgotten, but he was gentle and as we walked my hand didn't become sweaty. We walked by a place called "Speed Rabbit Pizza" and I smiled.
His apartment was as I remembered huge and beautiful. We sat on the couch and had kir and cigarettes cut with hashish from Amsterdam. We took off our shoes and he gave me a pair of his slippers. My feet swam in them and to walk in them I had to essentially cross country ski, making little lunges without lifting my feet from the floor. He told me how happy he was to see me, and he genuinely meant it. How long had it been since a man had been happy to see me? Of course, my gay husband is always happy to see me, but really gay husbands don't count. He told me how his friends had thought I was very nice and only had nice things to say about me. And I thought of course they think I'm nice, all I do is smile and nod and giggle. How could I be anything but nice to them? Meanness, to some degree, requires language or at least a common language and so in this context I had to be inherently a nicer person than I am in NYC. He reminisced about meeting me on the street. He had said I was cute, how I said thank you. How surprised he was. How thrilled he was to get my letter. He couldn't believe it, that I had written, that he had gotten a letter from NYC and it was clear that getting a letter from me was as exotic and sexy as receiving a letter from Paris was for me. I still had his letter, which I carried on me since arriving in Paris. I went and showed him and he sat read over his letter aloud.
I thought the simplicity of the letter was because I could barely understand French and he was tailoring it to my limitation, but it became very clear that the simplicity of the letter was because he could barely read.
I do not believe in the afterlife. And the main reason I do not believe in the afterlife is because if my father continued to exist in any fashion at all, he would have registered his displeasure in some way. I had fallen for a nearly illiterate Frenchman ( he hated the French-he also hated the Germans, the Swiss, the Christians, the gays, the blacks, and anyone from New Jersey) and there was no crashing thunder, no poltergeist like knocks on the wall, no banshee like wailings, not so much as a single shiver of displeasure. In all the moments since my father died, he was the most dead in that one.
He brought out a file of drawings he had done of boats and we looked through them together. They seemed fairly simple, done with colored pencil, with no people or water or anything except the intricate patterns of riggings and sails. I began to get bored as I after a while it seemed like the same boat again and again with only minor changes. He gave me three t-shirts with his drawings of boats on them and put them in a bag for me. We sat on the couch and he talked about what life would be like for us, for us, on a boat. There would be the sun and the beach and so many fish. And he would catch them and cook them for us. And I lay there on the couch, pleasantly stoned and tipsy hiding behind my lack of French because I hate boats and I hate eating fish and even though I know how to say I don't like boats and I don't like fish, I thought there was no reason to interrupt his dream. And he talked about coming to New York or maybe the two of us going to Montreal or Quebec. No man had offered to take me anywhere since Eric and his idea, the one that started all this, to take me to Paris. But I wondered how could we arrange a holiday together when I barely understood him? How would we figure out how to meet each other in Montreal? But there was no point in interrupting his ideas especially since I liked the idea of going to Montreal with him, of our discovering a city together, much better than me showing him New York so he could disappointed by the flat ugly grayness of where I live.
He kissed me and I tried to tell him I missed him, but I'm not sure if he understood. And then he led me to bed. We used the other bedroom, not the one with the sagging bed and the ironwork. Perhaps because the other bedroom was warmer, but it was smaller and not as decorative and I missed the other bedroom.
(and here is where things get graphic)
The first time I was with Henri, he led me into the bedroom and I lay down with him on the bed. He is a big guy, but there was no roughness. Often after a night of love I wake the next day with bruises from fingers on my arms, but there were no marks. He took off my shirt and then my jeans and my leopard print panties and pulled me to the edge of the bed. And then he tasted me.
Like many women, I have trouble enjoying oral sex mainly because I always suspect that men hate it and it is impossible to enjoy something when you are concerned that the other person secretly resents you for this pleasure. This suspicion has been confirmed by the number of men who claim that they "love oral sex" only to discover their idea of loving oral sex is to gingerly give me a few laps and then move onto the "main event" or to reveal that they can only perform oral sex during a complex set of conditions ( ie. if you shower immediately before using a combination of 20 mule team borax and hydrochloric acid when Aries is in ascendacy and the full moon shines directly onto the reliquary of the umbilicus of Christ etc etc and by then it doesn't matter because I will have fallen asleep) Not that I can't come from oral sex, I can and I do, but generally I will only be comfortable enjoying oral sex if there is an established relationship.
And I would have told him all this, but you know someone in my four years of French we completely skipped words like "oral sex" (although we did do a whole freakin' section on marine life) and since I could not explain I simply decided to let him go and discover on his own that I didn't respond to oral sex. But in the moment I allowed myself to simply let him wait and discover, I felt a shiver a pleasure go through me and soon I dug my heels into shoulders and instead of waiting for him to stop I was thinking "don't stop, don't stop" which I know how to say in French, but at that moment I was far beyond language, and I was arching myself further against him. He grasped my hand, and I kept thinking "He is going to stop at any time", but no, he kept on until he tasted my orgasm. I remember calling out in that moment, the high falsetto of pleasure, which seems so unnatural considering how deep my voice usually is. I stayed panting in the moment, and then he slowly stood up. He had been kneeling beside the bed and when he stood up I realized he was still completely dressed. He took off his shirt and pants quickly and pushed me back onto the bed. I could taste myself on his lips as he kissed me. He whispered to me that he loved my taste and he would go down on me everyday all the time if he had the chance.
And I closed my eyes and thought "I am never leaving Paris."
I sat on the edge of the bed and took off my clothes. From the very beginning it was different, different bedroom, more drunken, more stoned, of course such is expected since even Montaigne noticed that "it is a hard task to be always the same man"( Montaigne is quoting Seneca) especially since "we want is only in our thoughts for the instant that we want it." We undressed and I pushed myself back onto the bed. He went to taste me and there was no rejection this time, no concern, I had been waiting for this. How long had it been since I had been kissed? Almost two months. And naked in front of man? Couldn't even say really. I was losing faith in my attractiveness. Before I couldn't sit in a bar alone with men approaching me, now I could sit for hours without arousing interest. I needed to be kissed and caressed and worshipped. I needed to hear about my body, the hear and see and FEEL the appreciation of my beauty. He turned on the radio I suppose to keep the neighbors from hearing us. There had been no concern in the summer, but of course everyone was a way on vacation and that bedroom didn't share a wall with a different building. Still it felt like he had grown of embarrassed of me. And even more strangely I found very quickly that there wasn't the pleasure I experienced in the summer (an explanation independent of Henri will be given for this later) and he quickly withdrew and began kissing me. He was talking to me in French and again I secretly wished for a French whore's quick bedside reference manual. Some I understood, he loved the taste of kisses ( kir and marlboro reds cut with hashish), my breasts (they really are quite lovely), my ass. I took him then and rode him for a while and as much pleasure as I got from it, I did not come, and eventually my knees began to hurt ( that IS when you know you are old) and I was wondering where did the dedication to my pleasure go? That one summer night he had been so passionate, so unflinching in his pursuit of my enjoyment now he was content to allow me to have my way with him. Finally, exhausted with the failed effort of my own passion, I was able to please him. He kissed me afterwards and fell asleep with his arm thrown over my waist.
Despite the wine and the pot and the effort of sex, I was unable to sleep spent the night tossing from side to side. Henri makes a noise with his teeth in his sleep which sounds something like a broken windshield wiper and when I did sleep, I dreamt of driving in the rain. Occasionally, I would turn in my sleep and he would follow suit kissing me on the shoulder or the cheek, or curling his hand to my breast.
I managed to sleep for a few hours and woke to find the bedside clock reading eight. It was completely dark still, like it is dark here at four, and I thought Henri's clock must be broken, but as I walked through the house on the way to the bathroom, I realized all the clocks said 8 and so it must actually be 8. I went back to sleep for a little bit, but Henri got up at around 9.
In the summer, I had not been able to sleep either and I had lay in bed waiting for Henri to wake up. Men are often strange the morning after and I was waiting to see if he would merely try to quickly shuttle me from the house, but he had rolled over and kissed me deeply, kissing my breasts my stomach, working his way down until he tasted me again and this time I arched against him. After I came, he kissed me and asked me if I wanted coffee. Breakfast of G-ddamn champions.
But this morning he merely sat up in bed. I threw my arms around him from behind, which he enjoyed but then he turned and asked me if I wanted coffee. Well, yes I did. I was beginning to get a migraine, a situation I understood when I saw that we had consumed a bottle and half of white wine the night before ( even a glass of white wine often results in a wicked hangover for me) and I drank my bowl of coffee with an increasing twinge. Henri offered me toast, remembering that I liked breakfast, but I told him not this morning. He seemed not to believe me, but I convinced him I wasn't hungry. I had a bowl and a half of coffee. He asked if I had slept well and I lied and asked him the same. He smiled and said yes, but there was little of the breakfast fondling I enjoyed before and eventually, I got up and kissed him, offering my neck and breast to him, reaching down with my hand to arouse him. He responded and I asked him to take me to bed "but my brother is coming, and I don't want him to walk in on us having sex" ( important plot point alert). When I told this story to my gay husband he said, "Listen, I came all the way here from fucking JFK. I flew 8 hours and spent an hour on the Parisian metro. I want pleasure and I want it NOW." I was surprised how well he articulated my anger. If I had been in NYC I would have wheedled and tempted and perhaps forcibly dragged my lover to bed, but here I had become this other girl, this nice smiling nodding almost geisha like girl. And now, now after all this I felt rejected, I felt unattractive. So I quickly threw my sweater on and decided to go back to the hotel and actually sleep for a bit because my migraine was getting worse. Before I left he asked me what I was doing that night, I said nothing, and he invited me to a dinner party he was throwing. He would call me at my hotel at five.

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