Romantic Interlude

  His name is Nicolas. 6’3″, brown hair medium length, nice build, strong shoulders, hazel eyes that sparkle when he smiles. If found please ask him to contact, me, the tall blonde wearing the red scarf looped twice around the neck then tied in a knot. Tell him I’m the one he smiled at in Le Danton café… I am sitting in Le Danton café, directly across from the Odéon station, licking my cappuccino’s chocolate-dusted foam off of my miniature spoon when our eyes lock. He is laughing while fiddling with a sugar cube and his dimples are, well, adorable. He smiles at me, I smile back (he’s ever so dreamy). He’s confident rather than cocky, he puts his hand on your knee when out in public at a restaurant just to let you know that he loves you, he contains a subtle wit, has a Black Lab named Billy and spends his paid vacations feeding the starving children in Africa…he is just my type.Our romantic interlude is abruptly interrupted by Laura, 15 minutes late for our 7 pm appointment, wearing a brown newspaper-boy hat that is now blocking my beautiful view. I pretend to be excited to see her but know that my chances now of realizing an actual conversion with Nicolas have seriously diminished.I fill Laura in on the hot merchandise located just behind her to her left. We debate for roughly three minutes about whether he is gay or French, and whether the shaggy haired-blonde seated across from him is his lover. Two minutes later he is declared French–with an almost perfectly straight score: not too vain, never seen Yentyl, though he enjoys cooking. I take a careful sip from my cup to avoid a foam mustache while glancing in the mirrored wall to my left to make sure that the two strands of hair that I have strategically pulled out of my hairclip in order to frame my face are in place–EW! An overwhelmingly sweet taste catches me by surprise. Sugar. Someone has put sugar in my cup. I spray the sweet, syrupy milk all over my red scarf. Milk dribbles down my chin. My entire body is tingling with nerves. Everyone in the cafe is staring at me, Nicolas too. I fiddle with my scarf, trying to shake the milk off of it. Three minutes later, rather than resuming their conversations, my company in the café continues to stare, awaiting my reaction. The headwaiter with the belly fighting the cord of the white apron tied too tight over his thick waist rushes by, dropping a pile of red napkins in my lap. I wipe my mouth and dry myself off. While the people continue to stare, I pretend not to be bothered by my little accident and look at Laura and laugh. Laura does not laugh back, which makes me look even more stupid.Out of the corner of my eye I watch Nicolas, with whom I have been avoiding eye-contact since the spill. He takes his black jacket off the back of his chair and slides out from behind the table. He pulls his jacket on over his perfectly fit gray t-shirt and blue jeans. Glancing at me, he smiles as he and his shaggy haired friend leave through the back door. He looks back at me through he window and waves shyly. I wave back, straining out of my chair to keep him in view as he disappears down the métro steps. Come back! Come back! I wait for him to re-appear but he does not.I am heart-broken. Why hadn’t he introduced himself? Asked for my phone number? Why had someone spiked my cappuccino with the white crazy powder? As Nicolas and I played the “shy eye” game across the café, Laura entertained herself by pouring three sugar packets into my cappuccino while I was not looking. I eat sugar once a week, due to the fact that I am hypoglycemic and sugar tends to have a strange effect on me. (Rarely do I consume it in front of strangers or when with someone I would hate to see me as a fool. Every week, however, I offer myself the day off, “Eat as much as you can, as fast as you can.” It is my special day: I get to eat whatever I want and as much as I want. Today was supposed to be a “sugar-free” day. I was not supposed to meet the man I am going to marry when I was under the influence. “I hate you,” I whisper to Laura, giving her a cold stare. I squint hard and direct while making a hissing sound in my throat. Now… Laura laughs. I whine to Laura about losing the man of my dreams…and I find myself suddenly depressed. Will I ever see him again? In a city with over 8 million people, probably not. But how is it that in a city of over 8 million people this is the first man that I have found attractive in a month? Ce n’est pas possible! Ce n’est pas juste!Laura agrees that lately the dateable guys have not been on the shelf. I wonder…out of season? Have they all gone to the country for the winter? Why didn’t Nicolas talk to me? In Los Angeles he would have walked right up to my table and asked me for my phone number. But then, he would have been cocky rather than confident and he wouldn’t have a Black Lab called Billy because a pet would mean too much responsibility and commitment and he surely would not receive a paid vacation let alone help feed the starving children of Africa in his free time. His name would be would be Cody, he’d have blond highlights and probably wouldn’t even know where Africa is. Laura and I pay the check and kiss goodbye. On my way home to my small studio in the 16th arrondissement, I dream of Nicolas. The métro ride…
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