Herve glided away from the table as if there were tiny wheels under his shoes. It wasn’t clear if he was even touching the ground. Rick watched, no, stared into the space as all of the air behind Herve was swallowed up behind him like a black hole and when he was finally gone there wasn’t even air left over to breathe.
“Sally,” Rick started.
“Yes,” she answered, barely able to hold onto her curiosity as to what he was going to say next.
“Would it be weird if I told you exactly what I was thinking right now?” he said, still not looking at her but looking into the void that Herve the celestial being swooped away with him.
“It would be divine,” she whispered. “But hold on, let me have a sip of wine, I can’t wait to hear this.” She took a sip and waited patiently.
“I’m insanely jealous,” he started. “But not just Oh, I wonder who that guy from her past was,” he accented the words slightly to share what his mind was thinking, the tone was pleasant and friendly.
He continued quickly, but less friendly, “But more along the lines of Oh, I’m sorry, was your name Herve or was it Swerve because Swerve is what you should do when I plow my car in your direction at top speed,” before he continued, he had to stop as Sally let out a hoot of a laugh that even she hadn’t expected. Rick kept going with renewed confidence and even deeper into his truth.
“Oh, and if you don’t know what Swerve means in English, look it up or ask me, but I’m not going to tell you until afterwards and if it’s too late and you’re flat on the road afterwards then I’ll happily let you know that it means to turn, to get out of the way, to just miss plowing through someone you actually do want to run over. Yeah, more like that kind of jealous,” Rick stopped and wouldn’t let his eyes move, or swerve, away from Sally’s.
Sally couldn’t hold back her enthusiasm and actually clapped her hands and shrieked with excitement even though she wasn’t much of a shrieker.
“What?” Rick asked, wondering what all of the clapping and shrieking was about. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to know her answer and he absolutely doubted his idea of telling her exactly what he was thinking. What he said came out so quickly, he now wondered exactly he said as it was almost a blackout and his memory of what he just said was disappearing as quickly as Herve did.
“Now,” she started and let the single syllable sink in to the space between them. Rick was finally looking at her. “Now we’re getting somewhere, my newest friend. Now we are starting to be in Paris, not just visit or write about it or walk through it, now we are here and now you’re starting to feel what flows through the people here. Do you feel it, Rick?”
Rick tried to feel his body to understand what she was talking about it. He wanted so much to feel it, to be there like she was saying. Not just to visit, not just a tourist, not even to write about what he wanted to be, but he wanted to be what he was trying to be.
Unconsciously, he closed his eyes as this helped him concentrate and he searched through his body for the feelings that she was talking about. Where would they be? Is his heart? Should he feel shivers up his spine? Maybe his feet would go numb? He let go of trying and exhaled but kept his eyes closed.
Then he felt it! It was a soft touch, a gentle tingling like a feather, but with more pressure than a feather and it felt so real! It was as if something was actually touching him, tickling his lips. The feeling was warm and even a little wet and he opened his eyes, but couldn’t believe what he saw.
Sally was sitting in her chair, but had just moved back there? Was she just closer to him? What did he feel? Was it her? ‘Whatever you do,’ he told himself, ‘Don’t do that let-me-tell-you-what-I’m-really-thinking thing right now. No way.’ But then the tingling moved from his lips to his heart with the speed only electricity can handle. Then it went down his spine and right into his tailbone, shot back up like a rocket through his back, up his neck, into his head and he was lightheaded and felt faint.
Did she just move closer to him? Or did she retract? Was she really close and now sitting normally? He could no longer tell. He wasn’t sure if two seconds or two minutes passed. But she was talking. Quick, listen! She said words that might have taken a few seconds to leave those full lips of hers, reach his ears and wake up his brain to comprehend. He wasn’t sure if she said the words aloud, whispered them or maybe he was hearing things, but the words finally reached his overwhelmed brain and he didn’t need to understand them, he felt them.
“Do you feel Paris now, Rick?”