Travel Vignette: Coup de Foudre

Author’s Note: This is a little vignette I came up with one time. Haven’t played with it too much since its birth a couple years ago. It’s cute, a little snapshot, a flash fiction kind of thing. Been trying to add more texting to my stories, since no one talks in person anymore. I feel like there is more to writing dialogue via text, because people text differently than they talk. Anyway, just practicing. 

Coup de Foudre

Walking along the canal with her he felt like he was experiencing everything he had read about his entire life, walking the same way so many men had done before him, feeling the same feelings they had felt, seeing the same things, just in different times, in black and white back then, before there was color. For him, it was a special thing to realize and to appreciate. Today, everything is different. Everything has changed. But these moments, with this river and these women, were still the same as ever.

The water moved along with them in the same direction and they walked along the bank. The bridges were in front of them and the river split in front of the grand cathedral. He walked her up the stairs to the street and they walked through the square in front of the cathedral. It was lit up in the night.

After they crossed the square they stood at the corner. She was going one way, she said, and he was going another. He looked at her. She kissed both of his cheeks and set off across the street. He passed back in front of the cathedral, crossed the bridge over the river, then turned the corner and walked several blocks to his hotel. When he was undressed and in bed he heard his phone vibrate on the nightstand.

“I hope you had a safe walk back. Thanks for the evening, liked it very much.”

He turned on the light and propped himself up in bed.

“It was a very nice walk and a very nice evening,” he wrote back. “You are really fun and sweet.”

“Thanks dear. I hope I didn’t keep you so long that you’ll be late tomorrow. I’m happy I met you at the ball.”

“I’m very happy we met too and it’s only a shame it wasn’t at the beginning of the trip so I could have met you earlier and not spread all that cheese…”

“You’re right, that’s the main point of this all. Not spreading cheese. Ever. I can’t wait for your next stay here so I can show you all my wine-cheese skills.”

“In return I will teach you some things about home-cooked pasta so you don’t eat that canned stuff anymore.”

“Well don’t make me miss you already by saying sweet things like home-cooked pasta. I told you I’m quite a belly. I hope you don’t drink all your champagne too fast, even if, you know, it doesn’t age well so you shouldn’t keep it too long.”

“It probably won’t taste the same as along the canal with our feet over the edge looking up at the cathedral,” he wrote, feeling romantic. “I’ll be missing a few key components.”

“I’ll take all the credit and leave nothing to the sundown, the view, the weather, or the beauty of our city.”

“Maybe it had just a little bit to do with you,” he wrote, adding a smiley face.

“I didn’t know American men were so nice on a regular basis,” she wrote to him. “No wonder French girls fall so easily for them.”

He felt a rush of excitement as he read the message. He typed with a smile, imagining the possibilities. “Hopefully you’ll still feel that way when I return.”

“This better be nothing about being peach-polite, because I’m taking it as a French promise.”

“There’s no good in promising,” he wrote, “But now that we went on an American date, I’m excited to try for a French date next time.”

“I don’t know. It’s not so easy transforming a nice chat into a nice kiss nowadays. And French dates are mostly about obtaining this very step.”

“Believe me,” he wrote, “I was trying to figure it out most of the evening.”

He took a drink of water from the nightstand and leaned back against the pillows and the headboard. He looked at his phone and saw that she was typing. Before long the message appeared.

“Well, if you did figure it out, you wouldn’t have been able to go back to the US or wherever anyway. Quite a good thing you didn’t.”

“Yes,” he wrote, “But maybe I should have tried harder.”

“It’s better this way, because you actually made an effect on my best friend tonight at the ball. It would be bad behavior to touch you before asking permission.”

“See, you really are a princess and you really are proper.”

“Just in this way. I’m sure the gap between tonight’s princess dress and my natural way would be quite a shock to you otherwise.”

“When you say things like that, you make me wonder why I couldn’t walk you all the way home tonight.”

“Not this time, dear. But please, do come back soon and try again.”

The next morning he left very early for the airport. There was a very long line at security. He stood in it very patiently. There were people who were late for their flights and he let them go ahead. He took his time putting his shoes back on. He arrived at the gate a few minutes before the doors closed. He was the last person on the plane. He knew he would not be back for a long time.


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