So there I was, first day in Paris.
I felt pretty weird and was starting to realize my mind was culturally shifting. I still had one foot in the midwest and a toe in France. I set out from Notre Dame and headed to the Eiffel tower knowing the walk would take me up to the time when I needed to meet Michelle after her class. I needed the walk to clear my head and settle with the change, to reassert myself after the journey. I was getting into my walking groove when along came Mr. Italiano, who mistakenly asked me for a light in French (which I replied with an awkward “I, uh I…. umm, uh” I wasn’t ready to practice my French). We walked the Seine talking about the differences between cultures and sort of helping each other which each of our respective languages.
What I thought hesitantly was a simple get-to-know-you discussion (I was very much aware of where my bag was at this point as I had already been victim of an attempted pickpocket at the airport)… but this was actually a very very blind date, so blind that I did not even realize I was in it.
We reached the Pont des Arts and he asked me if I knew the bridge and I replied that of course I have it is the bridge where people lock locks on the railing with the name of themselves and their significant others and proceed to throw the key over in the Seine vowing to love that person “until the key is found and the lock unlocked”. What I didn’t know is that this bridge was the “love” bridge and I didn’t realize that this is the bridge where Mr. Italiano would ask to see me again. I finally had to end this very blind date and proceed with my salutations which I guess had to include a hug. I politely entertained what I thought was a bise on the cheek, Mr. Italiano had other ideas. Other ideas that included the longest and most awkward kiss i’ve ever experienced. As I heard other people on the bridge giggling the thought running through my mind was “don’t laugh, thats rude, don’t laugh, oh god you’re laughing, don’t laugh”.
Finally enough was enough and I went to leave. He explained to me.. “do you know what you just did? There was fire. and then you took it away”.
I thought, hell I’m pouring water over that apparent fire too, and kicking the ashes around so that there is no chance of this happening again. To complete it all he tells me passionately “Ashley, I will never forget this moment”
“OKAY! CHEERS BUDDY”
I walked my ass back to Notre Dame quickly to tell Michelle. I may not have made it to the Eiffel Tower that day, but I had already seen so much of Paris.