When we landed in Paris, it took forever to get through customs, and it was about two hours before I finally saw Steve. I was shocked at first glance. It had been several years since I had seen him, and my memory of him didn’t exactly coincide with the man standing there. He was very excited to see me, and the initial disappointment dissipated quickly as we reminisced about our times together on our way to his apartment.
I had to pinch myself, I was in Paris and couldn’t wait to see this “city of love.” It was rainy and cold. The traffic was terrible, everybody was honking angrily and you could barely see two feet in front of you due to the thick fog.
Once at his building, which was ancient, we took an old elevator to his floor. I was pleased to see that his apartment was very nice and beautifully decorated.
We sipped coffee, ate some delicious pastries and talked for several hours. Then he had to go to the office. He said he would be back around 7 p.m. and we would go out for dinner. It was about 9 p.m. by the time we got to the restaurant.
Steve ordered pigs feet for both of us, a delicacy, he said. The portions were very small and there was no meat on the pig’s feet. Steve said that you had to suck on them to get the juices and the meat off the bone. I was starving when we left the restaurant.
The next morning Steve was off to the office, and I spent the day sightseeing. I was glad that I had taken my heavy coat since it was still cold and misty.
During my three months in Paris, there was no such thing as a sunny day. I spent the days sightseeing alone while Steve worked. I spent a whole day at La Louvre. It was breathtaking and I saw the “Mona Lisa!”
One day a funny thing happened. I got off of the Metro in an area that looked rather interesting. I was in my faux fur coat and had high boots on. An oriental man started following me and saying: “We be friends?” I would look at him and smile…but couldn’t understand the rest of what he was saying. When I got back to the Metro, I was told that I had been in the “Red Light District.”
At night Steve and I went to UNESCO functions, to the symphony, opera, out to dinner and shows. I signed up for French lessons at La Sorbonne. Because of my Portuguese and Spanish, I was picking French up pretty easily.
Steve introduced me to a girl named Suzy, and she was along many times when we would go out. Also, she and I spent time together and I became aware that she and Steve had been more than “just friends” and that she was still very much in love with him. Steve kept postponing our marriage, and Rich had started writing to me. He had gotten my address from my parents. They took pity on him when he went to them, literally crying, and apologized for the way he had treated me.
I broke the news to Steve that I would be going home to Texas. This was the only time that I had ever seen him show emotion. In tears he said, “Darrling, I was about to propose.” I didn’t believe him, and knew that Suzy would be there to console him. Suzy went with us to the airport. So, I waved goodbye to them and the city of love.
Over the years I saw Steve a couple more times. He had not married and had returned to St. Louis to resume his teaching position. He also published many books on Law and Sociology.
I was once crazy in love with him and wanted us to be married. Unfortunately that magic moment passed us by. Who knows how it could have been? Steve claimed that he had always loved me and regretted that we had not gotten married in Paris. He told me once that he had waited at the airport for two hours, thinking that I would walk through the gates back into his arms, never having boarded the plane.
Recently I saw online that he had died of lung cancer. This was a man whom I had loved deeply and the news was very sad. The memories will always be with me of the great relationship that we had for a time.