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We nuzzle, intoxicated by the warmth of eachother’s cheeks. We kiss. We’re on a public street, a little sidewalk cafe, but it feels like we’re the only ones in Paris, like the world revolves around us. My fingers are so intertwined with his own that I cannot even pull my hand away to pick up my glass. So I keep grasping, and kiss him again.

He’s wearing this cologne – just a dab – made of flowers grown specifically in France. He’s so French, so painfully French, and so fashionable in turquoise and leather slippers. I feel worthless and uninteresting in a grey suit, another American businessman bumbling through Paris trying to make a name for himself. I know I only have value to my company because no one else wanted to get on that plane for this three week assignment.

Yet, I am not angry that I got pushed into this trip. It’s been the best three weeks of my life. My head is still full of images and scenes from yesterday when I spent the night.

“Please don’t go back,” he begs, his voice full of so much hope and pain. I was so shocked that he would say those words to me. What does a Parisian boy need with an American lover? Aren’t we on a lower rung, in the ladder of accomplishment? Isn’t it usually the other way around, the boring American pining for a romantic European heartthrob? We kissed more, our ice melting in our glasses.
When I dodn’t answer, his voice grows tight with need. “Please…stay here. I cannot put you on that plane to Washington DC. I cannot, now that I know you exist.”
“Jean Luc…” I breath, weakened by his accent which was heavy during his confession. “Do you mean it?”
“Yes,” he whimpers, looking oh-so vulnerable. “You would crash with me. We’ll get some place bigger. Some place with a better view. Your French is getting better every day. You said your company wants to extend your visit right? Offering you a job here right? For gods sake, please, take it, or my heart is going to break.”

I think for a moment about what this all means. It is not a deep, philosophical event. I had already weighed these options in the shower this morning, because I suspected I would reach that state of lunacy by lunch. I had been right. It would mean packing everything up in my apartment and sending it overseas. It meant not seeing my family as often, but they would likely visit. It meant starting over. New cafes. New barber. New doctor, new optometrist. It meant breakfasts with fresh pastries and tiny coffees. It meant learning all the dirty French words first. It meant holidays around Europe and trips to the country-side where we would spend most of our time screwing in lavender fields, no doubt. It meant a life with Jean-Luc. I had known him for three weeks. He rescued me after I got lost after taking the wrong train, and he’d been by my side ever sense.

Oui,” I say with a smile. “Yes.”
Jean-Luc gasps. “You really mean it?”
“Well, I have to talk to my office and tell them I accept their offer to extend my temporary assignment into a permanent post. Then, there’s visa issues to work out.”
He kisses me hard and squeezes my hand so hard I fear it might break. “We’ll work them out!”
“Jean Luc, just remember – I’ll have to go back to DC to pack. I have to give 30 days at my apartment. What if you fall out of love with me then? What if, after a week of not having me here, that you come back to reality and our chemistry is gone?”
“That will not happen.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Because I am going to come back to DC with you.”
Now it is my turn to gasp. “Can you?”
“I have time off work, and I can telecommute for a bit. I want to see your American life before I steal you away.”
I gawk at him, my heart throbbing. It is true, what people say about the French being romantics.
“Yes,” I repeat. “A million times, yes.”

I am a lunatic. Maybe that is the American way, to confuse passion with irrationality. Maybe so, but right now, I am so happy I can’t even speak for fear of crying. Because it is the right answer. I am moving to Paris. I will be his.

Text is fictional. From photographer Braden Summers’ All Love is Equal Project.


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