Paris Diaries: Mr. Sandman
He wakes me up in the middle of the night to make love to me again and then in the morning. I hadn't known what to expect. Would he dismiss me in the morning? Expecting me to find my way back to the hotel alone? Would he escort me there?

His daughter comes flying into the room at nine am complaining that we slept too late. Spent too much time in bed perhaps, but slept? Hardly at all. Once he gets her out of the room into the shower, he gets on his knees and begs me to check out of my hotel and spend my last night in Paris with him.

Begs me

In the history of my life I have never made a man so happy by saying the word yes even though I did hesitate, I admit.

I suppose at this point I should name him. I called him the savage,or really my savage AKA mon sauvage. He laughed when I called him that perhaps unaware that I had pilfered this phrase from the Addams family. We were having coffee when Freddo, a childhood friend of the savage, showed up. It seems the savage had forgotten he would give Freddo a ride to a job. Freddo was a "sound designer" (I suspect he meant DJ) and needed a ride to a job in the country, in this case a wedding. Not sure how I stood in this whole arrangement I suddenly found myself in a car, shotgun without having called it no less, seeing for the first time,real french countryside.

The "country club" where the wedding was being held was, in my opinion, bad taste. The beautiful countryside had been interrupted by a half assed fountain and the type of landscaping and architecture that I generally associate with long island. The savage pointed to the fountain for his daughter who had fallen suddenly quiet during the trip.

I personally wished Freddo could stay longer. He spoke english well because he had dated a girl from NY and spent a great deal of time there. We spoke about both cities and our experiences of them. But we dropped him off and wished him good luck.

Nana was more than quiet, she was that still quiet that reminds one of movies like the Omen or the Bad Seed. Eventually, when her silent stillness did not elicit concern (mainly because the sauvage was too busy trying to cop a feel while shifting or ease his hand up my inner thigh), loud snuffling came from the backseat.

The sauvage pulled over the car, got out, and got into the backseat with his daughter. They communicated in murmurs while he rocked her back and forth. He looked at me a few times, rolling his eyes at me and smiling. Finally she was restored to good temper and literally within seconds she was smiling and joking again. He got back in explaining that she had suddenly gotten sad over the fact that she missed her cousins who she would be seeing soon.

Now, at nine years old I had finally come to the end of a series of leg casts lasting about two years to correct my foot position. I was about to embark on a series of years where I would have to wear both leg braces and a Boston back brace-a plastic brace designed to straighten the spine by forcing it into position. The brace had to be so tight that I was often short of breath and later when I went acting school it was discovered that it permanently altered by ability to breathe using my diaphragm. It also limited activity sufficiently to prevent me from just about anything vaguely resembling fun provided even if the breathing wasn't a factor. (The design of the Boston back brace was essentially a corset made out of plastic. No joke.)

And did I cry?

And certainly if I did, my father wouldn't have pulled over the car and bothered to talk to me about it. Crying was a sign of weakness ,and I should have been properly shamed into behaving like a strong and brave girl as soon as possible. So this exchange left me at an utter and complete loss. It was like witnessing a unicorn casually ambling into a bar and ordering a beer.

We returned to Paris and the Sauvage decided that he would treat me to real crepes. He is from Brittany, and crepes originated there. He mixed the dough, and I sat on the couch waiting patiently. He came into the living room and curled up with his head on my breast and fell asleep. His daughter came in and curled up next to him. At one point, she pulled a chair into the room and I realized the family cat was asleep on top of the chair. They all slumbered while I alone stayed awake totally confused by the educational french program he put on which seemed to be charting the lives of two daughters in rural Thailand.

I wondered how I had come to be in this moment looking out the window at Paris with a slumbering family around me. After dinner, we went to the hotel to check out. I was unsure if he meant that I really should stay, but he assured me that he wanted me to and that he could easily get me to the airport even though it would be very early when I had to leave. Luckily I can pack quickly. They were amused by my American money, some change I was keeping in the ashtray. They were impressed by the hotel room, particularly his daughter, who thought the room very posh. She clearly dreamed of staying in a hotel like one. and I didn't bother to tell her we had far better for the same price in NY. We returned to the flat where I only brought up one case.

His daughter went into the other room and began to watch Mr. Bean or Monsieur La Poubelle (AKA Mr. Garbage)** on the computer in "her" room. She wanted me to come in and watch with her. I sat and watched. Luckily the humor being mainly physical, I was still able to enjoy it. She fell asleep, sucking her thumb, her golden long hair a halo on the pillow. And I looked at her and wondered if I had ever been that young. At nine, my father was a full on alcoholic. He hadn't yet begin his series of drunk driving accidents, an issue of particular embarrassment to me since I was a member of the local SADD chapter. Further he had not yet gone into the ER while on call drunk thus losing his surgical privileges at one hospital. Nor had he yet been institutionalized. All of these events had yet to happen, yet the roots of them were already well in place. I was struggling with my braces and the bi-annual dehumanizing visits to Boston Children's Hospital. My parents had yet to tell me that I had survived cancer as an infant and so I thought that my physical disabilities were the result of a mental defect or a failure of will and so I spent everyday trying to run and walk upstairs. And failing each and every day.

No...I was never that young.

While he finished putting his daughter to bed, I changed into one of my Italian lace slips. There was nothing gentle about the love making that night. It was absolutely brutal. I knew there would be dark bruises, on my thigh, on my arms. Long after I returned, my skin would remember that night. I secretly enjoy bruises from sex, a more lingering sign of an ephemeral pleasure.

Strangely neither of us came. But there was no disappointment about it. "We are both tired" he said. It was true, and after two hours, both of us lay side by side and attempted to talk. He asked me when I could come back to Paris. I told him he would forget about me. I mean Paris is filled with women. And then he explained that he hadn't been with a woman in a year. His last relationship, a ten year common law marriage, had dissolved a year ago. (He didn't identify the cause.) Since then, no women.

Until me. Because what could be safer than a strange little American girl set to return home very very soon? And yet, he wanted to know when I could return. I told him August. He said he would be away visiting his parents then. I thought that would be end of it. He wrote his name and his address as well as his email in my book.

I never expected to hear from him again.

I had five more hours left in paris. He turned out the lights and curled up behind me and fell asleep. I lay in the dark, looking out the window at the full bright moon.

** Those of you familiar with the film Grosse Point Blank may remember that the assassin sent to kill Martin is named Felix la PuBelle . I suspect the name considering the character's disposition (or as Martin says "He's an asshole") is not an accident.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

    This page is powered by 
Blogger. Isn't yours?