I never once begrudged the six flights of stairs. I opened the door to the little loft apartment and there was the sky to greet me, a rainy afternoon in Paris and all the buildings looking so beautiful. The isolation of not knowing the language, the freedom this gives you to stare out at the world, freed suddenly from the need to participate. The two of us speaking English to each other and the intimacy that can be found when there is no one else to distract you from your love.
The storm rolled in and sleet found its way through the windows that turned their open mouths to taste the sky. I snapped them shut and we held each other listening to thunder, leaning against each other to save us from the sudden cold. A storm. Rain that obscured the breathtaking beauty of a city that was still a stranger. The newness of this place giving a new texture to the familiarity of your skin. A stretching out on a stranger's couch. Our shared history was the only thing that remained familiar and as such it seemed more beautiful to lie with you.
The owners of the appartment were men. Gay men we surmised, mainly because of the books, the shoes, the toiletries, the impecably styled ornaments. Making love on the couch of these faceless men, making love in their bed. The mirror that reflected our bodies. Knowing that they would have looked in this mirror to see themselves gorgeous in their skin. I avoided even a glance in that mirror but I saw you looking and it made me happy to know that in your eyes I was something to be looked at, something to be devoured with all of your senses.
Twenty years later we made love in Paris.
I wonder, way back then, drunk on that first night, if you had any thought for such a future, or if, just like in Paris, you only had eyes for me, naked in your arms.