Imprint on Skin

“I’m just surprised, Emily, that’s all.”

I curled the phone cord around my finger. “I’m surprised, too, Mom.”

“Well, he sounds like a wonderful boy. It’s a shame he lives so far away…”

“I know,” I sighed. I seemed to be doing that a lot lately, sighing.


Tuesday came and went in a flash. During the day while I waited for Sebastian to get out of work, I visited the Tuileries again, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face as I sat there reading and even writing some of my own poetry.

That night, we went to see a movie. French, of course. I could barely understand a word, since my high school French could only go so far, and the actors spoke a mile a minute. But it had a flimsy plot, something to do about a house party that goes bad when one of the guests drops dead.

In the cab on the way home, we kissed again, the kisses longer and more intense this time. When I came up for air, I noticed we were at my hotel.

“We’re here,” I said softly.

“Oui,” he said. Then: “May I come up?”


I could write down all the details of that night, how his kisses burned an imprint on my skin that I can still feel to this day. How his hands opened me petal by petal, delicately, as though I were fragile and deserved special care. But my pen wouldn’t do it justice.

At around 2 AM, I woke up from a deep sleep suddenly disoriented. Where was I? Then I felt his hands gently pulling me back into the cradle of his arms and everything came flooding back to me.


When I woke up again, I was alone. There was a note on the pillow next to me:

Forgive me for leaving without waking you up. It is just that you looked so peaceful I did not want to disturb you. Tonight, if you let me, I will invite you to my humble home – my real home – and cook for you.
I’ll be here for you at 8 PM.
Au revoir until then,

I hugged myself, still smelling the lingering spice of his cologne on my skin, on my hair. I was tempted to pinch myself to see if I was really awake. If this was really happening.

It was Wednesday and the days were slipping away from me. As I stood in line to enter the Louvre, I thought about what I’d be doing a week from today. I’d be in the middle of class, taking notes on the Tudors and Queen Elizabeth’s influence on Spenser’s writing. What would Sebastian be doing? He’d probably be getting out of work, going dancing. Maybe with some other girl.

A tear splashed onto my sleeve. The girl who took my money and gave me my ticket looked at me with concern. I smiled at her. “I’m OK,” I said, feeling ridiculous.

I ducked quickly into the museum.

Come on, enjoy the time you have left, make the most of it. You knew what you were getting into when you let him into your life.

But I never thought I’d feel this way!

Stop whining, you’re an adult, not a child.

“But I love him!”

I’d said the last part out loud, startling an old man in a gray beret who was walking next to me. He stared at me curiously and began walking faster.

I sighed. Great, I must be really going crazy now.

The End

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