Frehel Diaries: Ma Vie En Rose

“A quel demon bienveillant dois-je d’etre amis entoure de mystere, de silence, de paix et de parfums? O beatitude ce que nous nommons generalement la vie, meme dans son expansions la plus heurues, n’a rien de commun avec cette vie supreme don’t j’ai maitenant connaissance et que je savoure minute par minute, second par second.”

“To what benevolent demon do I owe the joy of being thus surrounded with mystery, with silence, with peace and with perfume? O beatitude! That which we generally call life, even when it is fullest and happiest, has nothing in common with that supreme life with which I am now acquainted and which I am tasting minute by minute, second by second!”
The Double Room by Charles Baudelaire (translated by Michael Hamburger)

Now playing: Eartha Kitt - La vie en Rose
via FoxyTunes

I figure after dinner, we will drive back to the hotel, but instead he drives us down by the ocean and turns off the lights. He turns up the radio, and I look out over the sand to the ocean and the moon. It's a clear bright night lit up occasionally by the lighthouse on Cap Frehel. He kisses me passionately and feel his hands exploring first over my shirt and then under. He pulls my shirt off my shoulders, followed by my bra. How long has it been since I made out in a car? Almost a decade. And I've never made out in a car by the ocean. The music is too loud for me to hear the pounding of the surf, but I can feel it-the pull of the elements. There is a part of me that wants to pull off all my clothes and go running into the surf. It's been far over a decade since I skinny dipped, particularly in a natural body of water. But I would have to extricate myself from this embrace first, which would be nothing short of impossible. He leans back, my breasts exposed to the night. He places my right foot on the dashboard and then allows his hand to travel up my pant leg. His kisses swallow any objection I have, any fear of being caught. I have no idea how far this is going to go, but I suddenly regret that I wore jeans to dinner instead of a skirt.

Eventually, he leans back and lights a cigarette. I pull up my shirt as I take one cig from the pack and light up as well. As we sit inhaling the night and the music, two cars come down and park near us. It's a pack of teenagers. They spread out-one unhappy couple bickering by the car, another couple making out on the front hood, the unmatched or not yet matched playing with glowsticks on the sand with members occasionally peeling off to coax the couples to join the group. One of them comes up to our window to chat. I am amazed at this attitude, which I see all over France. In New York we go out of our way not to see people we are practically on top of, but here a few words about "Hi, how are you? Here for a vacation? Have a nice night" are exchanged no matter how odd the circumstances. And here we are a 42 year old single French father and his 32 year old American mistress surrounded by a motley gaggle of French teenagers. But "En France, as the Sauvage would say "C'est normale" (In France, this is normal).**

Eventually all the teenagers light out onto the sand, until they become like fireflies. The only reminders of their presence are the flitting glowsticks that dip and swoop and twirl seemingly suspended in the night air. I sit looking out at the ocean and the lighthouse, and I think, "If anyone had ever told me I would be having this moment even 6 months ago, I wouldn't have believed them." A year and a half before, a man I had known for 12 years asked me what I wanted and what I said was I wanted to be surprised again. The last time I had the feeling was on the balcony of the Bellagio hotel. The world had seemed full of wonder and beauty that I couldn't even imagine, and it was all spread out below me just waiting for me to put out my hand. I had given up on ever having that feeling again. People were predictable and simple as was life. And life after that moment seemed to be dedicated to nothing more than beating to me to death with predictable monotony and loss. Daily reminders, like the pounding of the surf, of all I had lost. Not just love, not just someone to come home to and a life goals previously thought unattainable firmly in my grasp, but an entire world. I had lost my capacity to find beauty. But now, I had found it again. Here I was at harmony with these vast elemental forces-looking out at the Ocean, the night, the sand, looking at Eternity, and not knowing what it held and yet feeling completely calm. Knowing that I had found what I thought could not be achieved in a way that I never anticipated. The universe had, indeed, eventually given me exactly what I wanted. Desire, romance, adventure, and most importantly surprise. And I am in that moment, deliciously happy.

What the Sauvage is thinking I do not know nor does he ask me what I am thinking, which I wouldn't be to translate.

And the night is done with surprises either...

He takes me back to the hotel room, and, in silence, makes love to me like a man who wants to spend his last night on Earth getting through as much as the Kama Sutra as possible. I didn’t know that I could actually hold a full plough position for that long. My yoga teacher would have been so proud. Afterwards, I'm so exhausted I fall asleep in his arms without being aware of it.

** I am not being condescending here. There are many words in French that look similar to English, but have very different meanings so I thought I would clarify, just to be on the safe side.

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