At first, I wasn’t impressed; it reminded me of an oil rig. I’d read in the book Mom insisted I take with me, Paris for Dummies, that it was hate at first sight for the French. Gradually they learned to accept it as a permanent part of their horizon.
I wanted a photograph but I wanted to be in the picture, too. If I’d brought someone with me, they could’ve taken the picture. But I was relishing my newfound independence after leaving Carl, and I thought a trip for one to Paris would be a great way to celebrate being single again.
I positioned the camera up and away from me and snapped the picture.
“Pourquoi seulement ton chevelure? Tu es trop belle.”
I swung around and found a man standing there smirking at me. He was quite handsome, despite the smirk.
“Je suis désolée. Je ne parle pas française. Je suis Américaine.”
“Your French is formidable. For an American.”
I slipped my camera back into its case. “I guess men are jerks everywhere. Excusez-moi.”
As I turned to leave, he grabbed my hand.
I stopped and stared at him. I noticed that he had the strangest eyes – one was blue, the other brown.
“You have different colored eyes,” I said, realizing only after how stupid I sounded.
“Oui. I think you call it, recessive genes?”
I noticed he was still holding my hand. I firmly but gently detached it. “Oui. I mean yes. Listen, can you tell me where I can find the Louvre?”
“Not the Louvre. That tourist trap. You can’t see the paintings for the tourists!”
“Well, I want to see the Mona Lisa,” I said stubbornly.
“No, you must go to my favorite museum. The musée d’Orsay is wonderful, you are sure to love it. We can take a bateaux-mouche so you can see how beautiful la Seine is.”
“Um. I don’t know…”
“Please say yes. I can practice mon Anglais.”
“Well, I did want to take a bato moosh.”
“Non. C’est bateaux-mouche.”
I could feel the warmth spreading out from my temple to my cheeks.
“It’s settled then,” he said as he took my arm in his. “You’ll practice your French, I’ll practice my English.”