5. Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore -Be Still My Beating Heart

Be Still My Beating Heart

I wake early the next morning, I still hadn’t adjusted to the time difference from Colorado to Paris, but thinking about Frédérico hadn’t kept me asleep either. I was excited and anxious to see the man. I felt giddy like a young teenager on her first date, that’s how he makes me feel. Looking forward to today I search through my limited belongings.  I only packed one suitcase, not expecting to meet the man of my dreams by any means, so not exactly packing for the occasion.   Okay, something simple and yet classy.  That should do it. I dress and go to the local Starbucks to get my Venti Chai tea and to hook up to the available Wi-Fi.  He said he would contact me before he came to pick me up and the Wi-Fi in the apartment just wasn’t reliable.

Ding. Halfway through my chai, I hear the bell. It’s him. I know I’m smiling. He’s on his way, I tell him to meet me here.  We’re going to have a wonderful adventure today, I just know.

His presence in the coffee shop warms me more than the tea and as he leans over to greet me with a kiss on the cheek. His smile makes his dimples deeper and his eyes glisten. This man knows how to smile.  Not one of those fake smiles, but one that fills his whole face to his eyes.

We are close to the Latin Quarter and decide to walk to the Pantheon, I have no clue where that is, but the walk takes us past small interesting shops and he is patient enough to let me window shop on the way. In fact, there are a couple of jewelry shops I just can not resist and have to go in to see the handmade treasures.  I adore jewelry from other countries and always bring home at least one piece when I travel.  I had to remember this shop later.  The piece I had my eye on was an elegant little gold necklace with an aquamarine oval crystal and azure lapis stone dangling close by.   I didn’t want to take my time though buying jewelry when I was with Frédérico, so quickly moved on.

The Pantheon stood before us at the top of the hill, it looked like something I’d seen in Rome with all the columns. I didn’t expect that I suppose I should have with the name but was surprised. I hadn’t thought about the benefits of him being a museum curator, for one, admittance to any museum in Paris is now easy.  We bypassed the lines and got tickets, solely on his employee ID.  He is such a handsome man, and I noticed the girl in the ticket booth flirt with him and bat her lashes trying to get his attention.  He immediately circled his arm around me and asked for two passes.  She looked crestfallen and handed him the passes.  He smiled at me and gave me a wink. “I am yours, mon cher, and you are mine while you are in Paris.”

Having visited the Pantheon, we walked back to Notre Dame and grabbed a bite to eat at a small café.  It’s getting late in the afternoon. I’m exhausted, to tell the truth. I know I walk a lot while I’m visiting countries but having someone show the city to you is so much better and makes the time go so quickly.  The only thing it doesn’t do is ease the pain of the sidewalk on your legs.  I needed to rest.  We walk back to my apartment, Frédérico knows that we’ve had a busy day today but wants to spend more time with me.  I need to rest for a while.  I reluctantly tell him that I have fibromyalgia and that I need to rest for a bit. I don’t like to admit this to most people about having this disease, for one it’s hard to explain because I look just fine, but my body needs the down time and to pace itself, otherwise I hurt — a lot.  He opens his cell phone and googles it. Looks up at me and says “This?  Is this what you have?”  And points to the wiki page about fibromyalgia.  I smile and say “Yes, but I’m better than most, I take care of myself.”  He continues reading and as he gives me a gentle hug, he murmurs in my ear, “Okay, you go upstairs take a nap, I’ll pick you up at dusk to see the sunset and we’ll go to dinner, how’s that sound to you?”  I linger in his arms, not anxious to leave as I inhale the slight muskiness of him and the aroma of his aftershave.  It sounds heavenly!

Evidently, he is not anxious to leave me either, as he holds my hand and walks me up the narrow staircase to my flat. Sometimes it’s so narrow we can only walk one person at a time, yet he still holds my hand.  I need to rest for a couple of levels, but he is patient and kisses me while he waits.  I think he likes those pauses in the darkened stairwell.  Being so tall, he needs to duck when he gets to the top floor, so he doesn’t hit his head, but we finally make it to my door.

I reach for my key and fumble with it, he takes it and smoothly unlocks my door and smiles as he gives me a sideways glance with mischievous brown eyes. Be still my beating heart.

  • The Pantheon, April 2016, Photography by Candace Stauber
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