Lieux de memoire

That moment when you finally cave and go on a date with this boyishly handsome French nomad;  he is in town only for a week. He speaks six languages and is currently learning his seventh. His appetite for adventure rivals your own.

You agree to meet for lunch, it turns into dinner, then becomes a night cap over a couple of bottles of Argentinian Bordeaux and churros. The time you spend together is completely devoid of uncomfortable silences; there is no nonessential chatter between you, no down-turned eyes, no tapping away distractedly at your phones. Everything else falls away. All there is is the world that you weave together out of laughter, contemplation, and the anticipation of more.

At this point it is 2 am, but you continue to talk in the hotel lobby, and then – bam – it is four in the morning when you finally peel yourselves away. He hugs you warmly good night and puts you in a cab. This first date lasted 12 hours, but you make plans with each other to meet later in the afternoon.

You both rendezvous at the museum after some 6 hours of sleep; show each other photos of your travels over coffee and sandwiches. The hours slip away unnoticed: there is only sunshine and the sound of his voice. Plans to go to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner are cancelled promptly as soon as you find out he has the latest installment of Tekken and he travels with his PlayStation. You head over for pizza and video games.

It is almost midnight now – time to go home – so he kisses you good night. Only it isn’t good night because he has a mouth like ten fingers and ten fingers like a mouth. You lay next to him and surrender yourself to sleep; feel his lips on your forehead as he cups your face in his hands, “Bonne nuit, cherie.”

In the morning, you wake to his touch as the sun steals away the last black blue hour of the night.

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You have never been a morning person, but today, everything is good about the morning. He kisses you tenderly in the lift as you part. “Have a good day at work.” he whispers.

It only hits you halfway into the cab ride to your office: he is leaving. That is when you feel it, for the first time in a long time, to have found something worth the breaking.

He is catching his flight, as you are catching feelings.


 

Lieux de memoire . . . ‘exist because there are no longer any milieux de memoire, settings in which memory is a real part of everyday experience.’ And what are lieux de memoire? [They] are . . . vestiges . . . the rituals of a ritual-less society.

-Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century

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