Bordeaux, evening & I found a decent & busy cafe – facing the Arch at Gambetta in the historic part of the city – the old city.
Watching, while waiting for my glass of wine. A couple sits nearby; she young-literally a girl- 17 or so, perhaps, peut etre She’s a young Marion Coitilliard, very long hair- down her back with a hair=clip catching it up and letting it cascade still with style.
The young man- 20- perhaps (at most), confident – reminds me a bit of the actor who played Moliere, Romain Duris, a man-bun – & wire-rimmed glasses, blue eyes- a bit of a beard. It looks like a date. I think they’re perfect together.
She’s smoking – & talking – He’s leaning in – not noticeably- but enough. Enough- for me to see he’s interested.
She’s wearing an off-the-shoulder white diagonal scarf short dress–sneakers. He’s got washed black jeans & faded reddish short sleeve shirt. They both have tattoos. Good for them.
Longing for youth again & to be more reckless and more adventurous. Well, truth be told, I was adventurous. I travelled and lived a few blocks up from Harvard Square and lived a life that would be envied by many. I think, being introspective, now, I wish I’d been more in the moment.
Looking at them – I think about myself at that age & wish -= oh so wish someone had told me – “These are the days- these are the best days. Fall in love & say with the guy- make a life. Love each other. Connect & have an intimate history.
The slender body and firm supple bodies – all slip away with age. The wide-eyed innocence with intelligence behind the eyes – changes. It changes to a skepticism about life-for most. Some hold on to that joie de vivre and joy of life…but only few.
Life is fluid- not sure if this couple are students. Somehow I “feel” they’re in hospitality and just spreading their wings- assuming they’re older than 18. Sweet.
Venue- Eminem Music- loud – four guys drinking beer and laughing and a few young women- with two old guys & me…watching & listening and trying to sip my wine & enjoy the evening. I think about being back in Boston; more specifically – Cambridge at my own digs. My own comfortable place.
I wonder why I’m here – traveling alone and taking the train from Paris to Bordeaux. Paris has some familiarity and although the idea of travel and actually seeing other cities in France held a fascination; I’m not sure as I sit and wile away the hours of evening. I would like to be back at the hotel by ‘night-time’ having zero ability to speak the language and in this locale, the people have zero interest in communicating with me. Thirty years ago, I’d be that young, slim, innocent woman and it would be so much easier.
Aging, aging women, in particular, disappear. At home, it’s true. However, in France, unlike the hype – it is palatable. Invisible. This is a reality check; too cruel and very concrete. Old and a woman traveling alone is one of the most challenging times; being real in another language. Ahhh…there’s the rub.