Here man did not need company. There was so much strolling. So much eye-rolling over the smallest of things. One only needed to sit and watch.
A stool, a table, and a wine in the sunny outdoors were enough. Quite peculiarly, I felt no need for the presence of a woman. I have nothing against women. I, in fact, used to only feel complete when they were around. But now a woman of greater “grandeur” and beauty lay before me.
Her name was Paris, because indeed, Paris was a woman.
Needless to say that she was old. Still, she was not quite “une vieille dame”. Her worn-out buildings still shone of a beauty so strange – a fading beauty like the one you’d see on the faces of aging movie stars. This is what the young ones among us found endearing about her.
Young wits and talents would leave their lands behind to come here.
They’d come here chasing after a narrative. Be it that of Hemingway or that of Wilde, the yearnings which drove them down here were the same. They, unknowingly, were pilgrims fulfilling some sort of religious ritual.
As for me, this was nothing but a show. A time-killer. A place to hide.
A river where I hoped to drown my sorrows.
As I contemplated this, a couple passed me by. They seemed to be madly in love. This left me wondering if they had just met.
These sorts of “coup de foudre” moments were not rare among the French. They seemed to have that god-given ability to fall in love at first sight – a subject of infinite fascination to the less romantic ones among us.
I hated watching this sort of thing; seeing couples walk by all jolly and “insouciant” made my throat dry.
As a counter, I’d resort to washing everything down, unspoken words and misanthropic thoughts, with a tender “Bordelais”.
For, there was nothing I enjoyed more than that.
That is, sondering and sipping on old wines.