Thursday, September 29, 2011

Before the Fortune Tellers Arrive, One More Kiss



   In one of the most sensuous cities on earth, at one of the most delicate times of day, I watched him.  The streetlamps were still glowing, reflecting off of the moist, foggy brick and wrought iron.  The only movement on the narrow streets was a garbage truck grumbling around the corner and a handful of old bicycles, pedaled and driven by beatnik poets, some of them wearing long aprons, hurrying towards their early morning shifts at New Orleans breakfast cafes.

   No tourists were out this early, and the street performers still slept soundly in whatever safe dark caves they could find.

   We had agreed to meet at Jackson Square, between the St. Louis cathedral and the entry to Place d'Armes, before breakfast.  Before the fortune tellers had time to set up their card tables and hand painted signs, promising answers.  We didn't need their predictions,. after all; we only wanted one final quiet morning together.

   The preceding three nights had been filled with romance and surprises, and today we would part ways.  I slept in my hotel bed at The Frenchman for only a couple of hours, rose before dawn to take a hot shower in the minuscule but ornate bathroom there, and dressed in my last remaining clean sweater and a skirt with warm tights and boots.  It was too early even for the hotel's parlor breakfast of coffee, croissants, and bacon, so I wrapped up in a long, soft scarf and made my way through those magical streets.  

   I walked alone to our agreed upon spot, taking mental snapshots of every tantalizing storefront, every window box garden, and every white-on-black printed street sign.  If this incredible place could somehow be home, would the awe gradually diminish?  Would I slowly lose focus on the sparkle, the hum, the glow of the French Quarter?

   He was already there waiting for me.  He was, as usual, standing tall and straight, broad shoulders square against the gray morning light, hands in his pockets.  He was leaning just slightly back, tilted to view the impressive church that has loomed over the square for nearly three centuries.  He has such an appreciation for grand architecture, so much knowledge, so much wordless passion.

   I stop my boots from clacking and just stand still to watch him for a moment.  Gazing at him like this through the fog, I can almost smell his cologne.

   



7 comments:

  1. Love the images of the 'beatnick poets' and the fortune tellers offering answers...

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  2. Oh, I am in New Orleans. This is fantastic.

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  3. teehee gave me goosebumps. I felt as if I was there watching with you.

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  4. So much melancholy underneath this. I wan to know the whys.

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  5. "One of the most delicate times of the day" - that is a FANTASTIC phrase. Well done!

    All of your descriptions were really good. I wish we could've gotten more of the story!

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  6. What a great tribute to the city! I adore New Orleans, and you really captured the feeling of it well here. This was my favorite part:

    "If this incredible place could somehow be home, would the awe gradually diminish? Would I slowly lose focus on the sparkle, the hum, the glow of the French Quarter?"

    I've often wondered that myself. I've concluded the answer is no. There's just something special about NOLA.

    The fleeting romance of the story matched that of the city well! Nicely done.

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