This story is by J.R. Martin and was part of our 10th Anniversary Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The aroma of coffee filled the room. That was the first thing I noticed. I looked around and saw a table in the corner by a window. The table had a white damask tablecloth and a single candle glowing. I asked if I could sit there. The Maître D led the way and soon I was comfortable and eagerly looking over the menu.
It had been a very busy day, in and out of different offices, meeting new people and as always, sell, sell, sell. I was so glad the day was over, and I could at last relax and enjoy this beautiful city of lights. Paris, France, is one of the most charming places one can visit.
I looked out the window of the Eiffel Tower as the moon started its ascent into the skies that served as a backdrop for the nights sentinel. It was a new moon, bright and beautiful, much like the city I adore. It was a lover’s moon in the city for lovers. The brightness reflected off the black steel girders that support this monument that is recognized by almost anyone in the world.
In the states you can stop a stranger on the street and ask them, ‘what’s the most romantic city in the world?’
Nine times out of ten, they will answer, ‘Paris, France.’
Some may not agree, but for me, it’s Paris.
On the bridge Pont des Arts, my love and I pledged our love for eternity, and as I gaze out over the city, I am reminded of the vows we made that day as we secured our lock onto that bridge and threw the key into the Seine River below.
On June 1st, 2015, those in charge of such things, had to start removing the locks as their weight had made the bridge weak, and a safety issue was involved. That makes me sad, but yet I’m so thankful I got to experience that one thing with so many others that found love, in this fabulous city.
When the waiter came around, I ordered a seafood platter and a glass of sparkling champagne. I could hardly wait to enjoy this fantastic meal, along with the wine native to this country I was so privileged to visit, once again.
The only drawback to this lovely evening? My love is with me only in my memory. I can close my eyes and hear his hearty laughter and if I concentrate really hard, I can smell his cologne mixed with just a hint of tobacco.
Sometimes, I forget that he’s gone. I catch myself thinking, ‘I’ve got to remember to tell Bill that when he gets home,’ and then I remember, Bill’s not coming home.
So, it is this evening on our anniversary date. The weight of his memory haunts me, and though it makes me sad, I also get to hold him one more time in memory, and hear his laughter, and imagine the security I always found in his arms. God, I miss him so.
A lone tear escapes as I reach for the glass of champagne. I lift the glass and I drink to Paris, and love, and memories.