“Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” – Pope John XXIII
I opened my eyes and squinted at the clock. It was 11:00 am, a quick glance out the skylight window and it looked cloudy and overcast, and… I was in Paris. I looked up to the ceiling to see the exposed white-wooden beams of my new attic apartment. This seemed to be the only charming aspect of the place. My new bed was a fold out black leather couch with pale blue bed sheets. Interesting to say the least, and it was not nearly as captivating as Genevieve’s flat had been. This little cubby I was calling an apartment, was only twenty square meters. That’s the size of a modern walk-in closet in the US. An architect had designed it and snuck storage into nooks that you would not guess to make it liveable, but I already had a feeling this was going to be short-lived. It felt sterile, however functional but not really Parisian. Or at least what I had envisioned. In fact, I could have been anywhere in the world, it definitely did not have that French charm I had hoped to experience daily in my living quarters. This flat had been affordable, cheap in fact, by Paris standards, and I signed a lease out of fear of not finding anything else. It was located near the glorious Pantheon in the 5th arrondissement, which happened to be my favorite district in Paris. This would have to do for now, until I could figure something else out.
I opened the red curtains to the half windows, lining the north side of the flat, and was immediately staring into someone else’s apartment. This was going to be awkward. I could watch their every move. I spied a man on his computer, eating a banana, and sipping a bottle of Evian water. In the kitchen was an Asian woman cooking. Maybe that was his wife? Girlfriend? Maid? Well, I was sure to find out soon with this lack of privacy. They could see into my place as well if the curtains were open. Oh God. I didn’t like this already.
I cracked two eggs into a bowl and turned on the burner. At least I had a stovetop, with two working burners. My eyes widened while noticing the egg yolks as they splashed into the bowl. The yolks of these eggs were bright orange. I could not believe it. So bright in color, and so different from the pale yellow yolks I was accustomed to in America. It was Sunday, and the weather was dreary, dark and grey. I decided I would stay in and have an omelet and pop a half bottle of champagne. If my flat was not going to feel Parisian, then at least I was drinking champagne. That always felt very French to me … sipping and savoring champagne.
As I sprinkled the goat cheese and thyme leaves into the eggs my mind couldn’t help but flashback to the beautiful omelet Eddie had made me that first New Year’s Day we spent together. It was the beginning of our romance and only the second date. But I remember it vividly. I had felt so adored, comforted, loved, pursued and fed. All because a man had made me a perfect omelet. I felt the tears forming as I had an impulsive craving for his deep embrace… I fought back the tears. I had been told people with impulsions or sudden anger wear rubber bands on their wrists and snap them whenever the impulse starts. I wanted to snap a rubber band on my wrist every time I thought of Eddie. It was excruciating at times. The loss, the pain and the physical need that was impossible to have. The thought of never seeing him again, as true as I believed it to be, felt morbid.
All because a man had made me a perfect omelet. Now I was trying to give that to myself. I would have to. I had no one to comfort me. I was all alone. I was all alone in a foreign country. My mind drifted to Saint Emilion, to my vineyard stay. In just over a month I had met so many new faces, and had entailed so many experiences. Eddie and I were over, I was living in Paris, and I was actually starting to create a new life. Here in Paris. A fresh start and an open door to adventure.
I sipped the champagne letting the bubbles foam on my tongue, tasting the sweet balance of acidity and freshness while aromas of poached pears and toasted bread permeated up through my nostrils. I swallowed and anticipated my next pleasurable sip…