It was nine years ago when I first met him. I was a young eighteen year old girl and this was my first trip to the European continent. Even though this may have been my first trip to the continent, I planned to stay in England for a few years. Before I settle down, I had decided that I would go sightseeing throughout Paris while my furniture and other worldly possessions were in the process of being sent (and lost) to my new English apartment. I ended up not keeping that home for long but that is besides the point here.
My sightseeing vacation was quite normal for the most part. I stayed in a few different hotels and tested out what little French I knew from my limited high school language classes back in America. I did not do that well when it came to communication but I remembered how to read the language. It helped me for the few short days I remained in country. I did not know at the time how much knowing the French language would be vital to my survival later in my life.
It was on the last day before my departure to my new home, the United Kingdom, which was the turning point in my life. For him, it was the beginning of the end. For me it was the end of the beginning. The end of the beginning was the end of normality. And it all started with a tap on the shoulder.
To this day I wonder why I responded to his offer. I could have just walked away from this opportunity like I normally would but instead I did not. Perhaps it was an unconscious wanting for a more exciting life from deep inside of my mind. This may have come from the life I wished to be molded in to as a child. I watched action movies and wished I could live in that world of adventure and suspense. I watched Disney princess movies and wished I could have my own prince charming and live happily ever after. But in reality, happy endings are all just lies, deceitful lies. Just like all of the lies he told me at the Louvre that one fate full night. I wish never to relive that night but now I must recall those events for not only me.
And a tap on the shoulder it was.
Somehow I had become lost inside of a bizarre hedge maze. It was only a simple hedge maze yet I had become lost in the sea of green bushes. Around every turn there was only another turn and in the case of a fork in the road it would seem that I would always take the wrong turn. I was lost in a swarm of panic that I would never be able to leave this prison of plants. Sweat came from my palms and forehead as I worried. On my own, I never seemed to find an opening in the green maze.
And then it was a tap on my shoulder. I turned around in the sea of green to see a man. He was quite tall for he loomed over my head. His hair was a dark brown color and was chopped short without any real definite shape to it at all. To my young teenage self he was the epitome of the tall and dark stereotype at the time. His husky voice spoke with a thick British accent and even his voice loomed over me. In my media brainwashed mind, he could possibly have been my prince charming. In the end, he did become my prince. He became my prince of lies.
“Don’t tell me,” He looked down at me as to make eye contact with me and I returned the favor as our eyes met. He let his lips form a toothless grin that spread from ear to ear. “Don’t tell me that you got lost in this maze?”
I let out an embarrassed sigh. Soon enough a smile also came across my face. “I have never really been good with directions you see…” Unnoticed by me, a small girly giggle was released. At the time it amused me that I would have done something as feminine as that as I was a tomboyish teen who had just wished to see the world.
“Here,” I let him grab my hand and drag me in to another hallway of shrubbery. At the end of the green path there was an opening. On the other side of that opening I remember the sight of the lovely French sunset. It was early July when I left the maze so the sunset took place around nine or ten at night. The orange sky made for an almost perfect backdrop for the location of the former Tuileries Palace and the famous Louvre that framed the maze. From the dirt roads on the museum grounds, our foot steps were in step with the other. At the time I thought that it was because we were destined to meet. That was just another lie he had instilled in me from the beginning. But then I went and asked his name.
“Thanks for pulling me out of there,” Another disgustingly cheesy smile appeared on my face. I should have just left there and then but I was caught up in his appearance that just seemed to suck me in to his own little world in which he was king and I wanted to be queen. This would be one gave mistake that would catch up with me later as I would see only two and a half years later. “Would you mind if I ask your name?”
“Of course not,” The sun disappeared below the sight of the tip of the Louvre pyramids. The glass reflected what was left of the sun light on to the museum walls making the whole moment look like it had just come out of an impressionist painting painted by the master Monet. Oh how I wished to savor that moment and milk it for all it was worth but it had to be interrupted by the most importantly destructive statement I was to hear in the next nine agonizingly long years of my life. “My name is Liam Wakesfield, nice to meet your acquaintance.”