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Photo by Ashley Dinges

Paris, 2:13am.  The streets are empty but I can hear drifts of laughter and the low throb of music off in the distance, if I listen hard enough.

I love the romanticism of Paris.  The dusty globes of the Art Nouveau lamp posts make everything appear warmer, softer.  Even the deep, inky black streets sparkle from the dewy moisture that begins to form each night.

Her hair was as dark as Parisian streets.

She barely spoke as we walked slowly along the old French buildings in the Bellville district, each building holding its own history.  All morning and afternoon she had been a bustle of words but since dancing and drinking that evening she had grown mysterious and sublime.  Her fingertips graze the walls of peeling paint and flaking metal.  Like a Shakespearean sonnet, I long to be those walls.  Even so gritty, I want to be touched.

Her skirt is too short, her coat not short enough.  I can see the tops of her thigh-high stockings revealing slivers of flesh with every step.  She holds my hand and kisses my knuckles every so often.  Her lips are warm against my cold skin.

We reach our hotel, climb four flights of stairs.  She ascends in front of me – I position us purposely like so, but I can tell she is on to my game and plays along – just enough to reveal her secret.  No panties.  Where her stockings end her body begin.  Any closer and I would not have seen it but she steps ever so slightly ahead of me that her world is revealed to me.

The French doors of our balcony are thrown open.  Moonlight spills across the plush carpeting, a chilling spring breeze fills the room, dancing with the curtains.  She stands on the edge of the balcony, looking out.

I come up behind her, slide my hands around her waist.  The silk of her slip-dress feels so comforting, so sensuous to me that I run my hands back and forth along her hips, her stomach…trailed them down over her back and between her thighs.  I keep rubbing as I kiss her neck, press my lips to her earlobe, breathe softly and warmly onto her skin.

She moans softly, clenching the bar of the ledge. It is her favorite, really – the feeling of my flesh, against hers.

One finger, two fingers.  In an instant, she submits, she is mine.  She turns around on the edge of the balcony, on the edge of desire, and comes to me.  She throws her arms around my neck and pulls me close.  I am as much a part of her as she is of me.

On the silk sheets of the hotel which we spent too much money on to sleep in, I remove her dress, leave her stockings on.  The night makes our bodies look as classic as black and white motion pictures.  Back and forth, back and forth, pulsating together as the silk makes ripples in the sheets.  She is a drop of paint on a watercolor canvas, spreading and widening across the frame as two elements become one.

She comes while on top of me, her hands pressing into my chest, fingers flared to sustain herself.  Yes, the balcony doors are still open, but this was France – if we aren’t exposing ourselves, someone else is.  Paris is full of open balcony doors welcoming moonlight and fresh air into the intimate lives of its inhabitants.

Rolling over, she re-dresses herself and stands up.  She adjusts her stockings, rustles her hair.

“I’m just going out for cigarettes,” she says, not looking at me.

“You’ll never find a place open at this hour,” is my reply.

She smiles at me, a broad, sleepy smile.  She tucks up her purse under her arm and leaves the room.  The click of the door is like a shot in the dark – suddenly, all is silent.

Suddenly, it is just myself and the Paris air.