City of Love

Note to self: it is very hard to read the tiny print in the Paris Circulation (map of Paris) when one is crying. My estranged husband (and boyfriend) left today and I was not prepared for how I felt about him leaving.

Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, Robert Doisneau

Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, Robert Doisneau

When I originally planned this trip my thoughts were in this order:
A 60,000 ticket to Paris!
Daughter will be gone the entire month of August
Business is typically slower in our office during August (and I can work via the internet)
I could rent an apartment for the month
I could take French classes to help me take the second language requirement for Ph.D. candidates (if I want to go back to school and get one some day.)
I will ask e-husband if he’d like to come

I pictured my independent self sauntering through Paris and oh-by-the-way it will be fun to have e-husband here because we have a wonderful time together when it is just the two of us. We get into trouble when we start adding our families. But when it is just us, we become the two people who met and dated seven years ago and fell in love.

Still, planning a trip as an “educational experience” is much different than planning a romantic getaway. I knew we’d have a great time but the purpose of my trip was learning the language. Before the trip, I looked at Google maps with directions to the school from the apartment; took placement tests for class, and practiced verb conjugation.

You probably knew what was coming. You reading this blog perhaps had insider information about what occurs when two people who still love each other come to Paris. This is Paris after all, the city of love. In the Let’s Go Paris book, a random fact: estimated” romantic encounters” in a day: 4,959,476. The population is listed as 2.2 million people—do the math!

For the first time since we were married six years ago we spent a week together without clients, children or relatives of any kind—just the two of us. We sat on park benches and held hands walking down a boulevard. We sat in cafes and talked about everything like old friends. “This is the best honeymoon ever!” e-husband (and b.f.) says. “Yes, but we are separated,”” I remind him. “Oh yeah, I forgot,” he says. When a waiter asks, “Would you like the same wine as your wife?”, he says, “oh, she’s my girlfriend.” We didn’t watch television, or check email very often. We didn’t talk on our cell phones. We woke up and decided what our adventure would be for the day. And I remembered why I loved e-husband (and b.f.) in the first place: his adventurous spirit, his generosity toward people, his sense of humor, his intelligence—plus he is cute.

Walking back from class today, I call e-husband (and b.f.) who had already arrived in London. I stop in a bookstore for an English/French dictionary and browse through the literature section, listening to Bruce Springsteen singing Queen of the Supermarket on the stereo. I make my way down the street to a sandwich shop and buy a jambon sandwich then stop to consult a map to the Hotel De Ville. But reading a map is impossible at the moment. I have on large sunglasses that are getting wet and it’s like reading a novel through a glass of water. But just so you know, I’m only allowing myself to be sad this one afternoon because this is Paris after all.

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