“I rang the doorbell. A few seconds passed. I heard the recognizable noise of the door opening. I climbed the fifteen steps. I went to the reception.
I waited a moment, a quarter of an hour, leafing through an old travel magazine, before being received for this meeting of no real importance. I went there alone, whereas usually my husband and my daughter accompanied me. It was normal for me to go to my daughter’s pediatrician with my daughter. There, I had only a few questions to ask, simply. I was pretty fit, tanned, bright. This is what I would hear later on. Bright.
I looked up at the sound of heels, a quick, nervous, dry step. I saw a broad smile, a deep, truly intense look. A firm handshake, which nevertheless enveloped me. This brown hair, wavy on the tips, gave off an unknown, surprising perfume. New. Grabbing.
Something was wrong,
– Come !
So I followed my daughter’s pediatrician into this rather dark, austere office. I glanced at the cross of Christ fixed above the fireplace and watched the very serious pediatrician sit in front of me in his large boss chair. I couldn’t see an auscultation table, game or toy. She was looking at me.
I was staring at her. No words were spoken. She got up, still silent. Passed behind me. Locked the main office door. The heels clicked less, it almost slipped on the parquet floor. I very precisely felt its perfume, which I could not identify. Sweet, almost vanilla. Surely a French perfume.
She also went to close a second door, the one that led behind the scenes of the cabinet. Then she came back to sit on her black leather chair. Put her arms on the armrests. And slowly tilted his head back, like languid.
This scene lasted a long time, like a semblance of eternity. Her sensual attitude, her closed eyes, her long hair resting on the top of the chair, her calm breathing despite the chest I saw rising: everything was only an invitation accepted. Everything was just a call to the forbidden embrace.
Finally, I dared to get up; I walked around the large desk, too slowly. Without a single word. I looked again at the cross over the fireplace. I closed my eyes for a moment. Calmed my breath. I was shorter than she was.
His hands looked almost small compared to his size. However, despite the 10 centimeters she had more than me, I dominated her. It was I who was leading the dance now.
I take the two armrests to turn the chair towards me and I say in an authoritative voice:
– Open your eyes, doctor, look at me.
We stared at each other for several seconds. It is said that silence after Mozart is still Mozart. There, the silence before love, was already love.
Our breaths echoed. I hesitated for a moment, intimidated by the incongruity of the moment. I do not really know. My cock beat, my heart almost hurt, I received in the chest and in the stomach like punches. She did not move. Didn’t speak. But continued to hold my gaze, like a provocation.
“Go ahead, decide, what are you waiting for?” That’s what she seemed to want to yell at me.
A last moment of hesitation and finally I brought my lips to hers, and kissed her on the corner of that round and nervous mouth. “
“The streets of Monaco were pleasant at the end of the evening. It was rather mild, the terraces were crowded and we did not know where to head as there were in this city of chic, luxurious bars, where bourgeois met and luxury whores, who sometimes were the same elsewhere.
I didn’t particularly like this city, but that evening I found it relaxing. Everything was clean, boring enough, the arch-known and rather vulgar codes. Agreed. Impossible to count Porsche, Maserati, Rolls. Tape-à-l’oeil, upstairs, Monaco was a place out of the world. Few bistros, few bookstores. No matter after all, we had not come to cultivate ourselves. We finally chose a bar. Blondes, tall, slender, thin in fact, white skin, sad eyes. Still whores, probably Russians. Or Eastern European countries.
It was everywhere. On the harbor, in hotel bars. Where there was money, not just clean, there were those long blondes! We ordered two whiskeys without ice.
We looked at each other, not knowing who should start. Nor by what. I was sipping my whiskey as usual. He, greedier, drank faster.
– Hey, wait for me or I won’t be able to follow you!
Davide laughed, and threw me:
– And yet, just now, I do not know who was leading the way, but it was not me in any case!
Why make a fuss about it since I had enjoyed this meeting, both cerebral and physically?
Better still, I felt powerful, like invincible. In those moments, I felt in my body what happiness was. It had happened to me before. I remembered that fleeting moment, that moment when I felt this feeling so strong that I associated it with what I imagined to be a shoot.
It was ten years ago and I had just met Davide
From the first evening, I knew he was the man of my life. I knew it instinctively.
We simply met during a show, in a café theatre not far from the Arno. A friend dragged me there. I remember it perfectly.
It was one of those evenings when I wanted to stay at home, under the duvet, on the duvet, whatever. But with my comforter. She had tanned me, come on, come, I have two places, it looks funny and then it will save me from rehashing the story with the other broken arm. Come on.
She insisted so much, got me by feelings. She had just separated from her boyfriend, I was alone then, or rather very accompanied but nothing regular and daily. I didn’t care, I was 25 years old. Time.
The meeting with Davide took place in front of the ticket office. Quite simply. We looked at each other. He had smiled. Me too. Had said good evening to me. I replied good evening. We still smiled at each other.
After the show, he waited for me, smiled at me again, wondering if I liked the show, if I liked the café theatre, and the theatre in general. And inviting me to come with him to a Shakespeare play that was being played the following week.
What I refused, not being in Florence then. But I invited him to meet me for a drink in one of the bars in the city that I preferred, ten days later.
– We’ll see if you get there. We’ll see.
And I turned on my heels, leaving with my girlfriend.
She turned to tell me:
– He does not take your eyes off. You fished big!
Very calmly, I gave him this:
– Look , I just met the man of my life.
– Of course, dream my dear! If you think it’s like this, in real life. You’re going to the cinema too much!
I let her speak
With Davide, we saw each other again on D-day, at H-hour and in the bar that I had indicated to him. Our first moment was pleasant, natural. It was him. I was certain of that. An evidence. An impression of knowing him forever.
He was moving, subtle, attractive, funny at the same time. He seemed free to me, different from other men. I liked it when he grabbed my hand. It was serene, convinced, and his skin electrified me. Filled me.
We decided to have a first lunch on the terrace, then a real first meeting.
“Tall, rather thin, very smiling, determined. In pants, on high heels. A pretty necklace on a white blouse. That this blouse suited him. It gave him an air of severity, of authority, of wisdom too.
Collar raised under her long hair finished to capsize me.
I held out her hand, as usual. But Francesca grabbed me with her left hand and drew me very naturally to kiss me. A gesture of real shy who dares. It may sound silly to say that, but when her skin came into contact with mine, I really felt an electric shock.
I don’t know about that first moment if Francesca felt the same. I admit to never thought to ask him.
The lunch was joyful, brimming with secrets, stories, anecdotes. We ordered, realizing that we liked the same things. We took some wine. Francesca started to speak. Of her couple problems, from which she did not seem to know how to get out. Did she want to? Not sure.
First, I had trouble placing a word, too nervous. And then, I wanted to listen to it. My experience of men made me hold an almost passive attitude. The rule of the game, with them, was to make them talk, ask them questions, show a real interest in their stories.
I realized with Francesca that women were not really different from men. In any case, that one. A few sips of wine helped me, and I took advantage of feeling them run down my throat to relax. I didn’t want Francesca to notice my nervousness. It would have been ridiculous.
But she too was nervous. Her hand trembled for the first time when she poured water on us.
– Sorry, I don’t know what I have today, she finally admits, staring at me. It’s not my kind
to have a trembling hand, I assure you!
I laugh. She laughs. She had half-acknowledged that this meeting was taking an astonishing turn. I didn’t know it yet, but Francesca was the kind of person to recognize in half-words.
Not out of hypocrisy, or out of concern for sparing others. It was a form of protection for her. Do not be too overwhelmed by your emotions and those of others. Don’t be overwhelmed at all. Control. To avoid the danger.
The discussion started. I was curious about her, she was about me. Even if I had to admit that she was very self-centred. Was it my fault, by dint of asking her questions, reviving her, wanting to know a lot very quickly?
And deliver me fairly little?
This first breakfast met a need for her, which she then seriously analyzed. This is how meetings happen. Lightning strikes. Of course, these rare moments reflect a not always conscious sexual attraction. They meet a need. They fill a void. They fuel a fantasy. But the grip is on this riddle.
Francesca went on loop in her life, both personal and professional. Everything was known, coded, limited. I had felt it from our first telephone conversation. She did not know what she wanted to do, and filled her hours and hours with work.
Surrounded by tons of people who also pretended to be fine, others who did not hide their unhappiness, Francesca did not know that one could devote a whole existence to work the desire, to question it, the to shape, to be overcome by strong emotions. At home, apart from sometimes brutal meetings with men, everything else was under control.
But she felt, because she was ultimately very intelligent and intuitive, that something was wrong with her. Something was missing. Fatalist, sometimes even deterministic, she thought a little lazily that it was not so serious. The varnish had certainly already cracked, but she thought that her patching up was enough to hold the shock over time.
She told me about it months later, but her meeting with me had caused a kind of changeover. Softly seen from the outside, but a real intimate revolution. I told her about my way of living, of seeing things, of people, of choosing.
So we talked. Why she became a doctor and I became a communications consultant; then why I wanted to evolve towards something else. Our youth; our childhood ; our loves, but not all about me, no question of shocking, already and so quickly, this bourgeois.
Our understanding of the couple and of life together; the child, mine, and the lack of lineage in her, a subject quickly evacuated; our travels, our musical and culinary tastes.
Our characters, what made us laugh, what saddened us. Our college years, our old crunches, our rants, mine today, hers old; what we smoked when we were young. Drunk too. Our past summer, some wounds, some physical suffering that said so much about our respective psychology. Our political opinions, our first vote, our last vote, the next vote.
The sport, which I had practised assiduously and always practised but less regularly while she was satisfied with a sports coach at home, practice of which she was a little ashamed …
We laughed a lot, it was tender, to leave the carnal tension that had arisen between us at a good distance. We looked at each other abundantly, almost contemplated. Without trying to impress the other, we had instinctively already entrusted intimate elements of our personality. We had left little room for silences. Pressed, very pressed. As if greed had taken us by surprise.
We were incredibly different, about our past, our aspirations, our way of seeing life and living it. And yet, we agreed as if by miracle.
We had to speak and speak again. We couldn’t end this first breakfast. At this initiation lunch. I was listening, really: she obviously liked talking to me a lot. It was immediate. I understood that she feared moments of silence, even fleeting. Over time, even years, I would teach him to fear them less.
And I will provoke them, to install looks, touches of our skins, hear her breathing and I hers and she mine and sometimes even install embarrassed smiles. Francesca was already drowning in my gaze and in this desire that I did not identify well. She was in unknown territory, however. Because I did not openly flirt with her, but I installed feeling, authority, mystery, humour. Yes, she had laughed a lot during this meal and her face.
After lunch, we had a coffee, then two on the terrace. Francesca smoked a lot, I didn’t. I liked that she smoked. It gave her a 50’s side. I don’t know
why, but she gave me the impression of being barely freed from the prohibitions that had blocked and slowed down women for a long time. It really made me think of an American, a New Yorker of the fifties who freed herself. This image had crossed me like a flash.
Hours had passed without us noticing. More than 3. Was it love at first sight? To be carried away in an unknown, different space time, without recognizable sensations? I was disturbed, excessively disturbed, extremely disturbed by this woman who, despite everything, already annoyed me.
We were falling in love with each other. I knew it and accepted it. Francesca, less. “
” Francesca always offered to see me when I was travelling. This annoying little game lasted weeks.
I finally understood that Francesca was dying to spend time with me, but she was also terrorized by the turn that this story could take. Since the kiss, she told me about it late, she thought about it, and forbade herself any desire of that nature. She had therefore striven to get into line, to play the perfect couple, at least for the outside, with her husband who did not understand much.
This scientist, handsome talker, selfish, individualist, stingy, had done everything to win back his wife. Above all, he had understood that Francesca was both fond of conventions.
But also from me. And that this caricature of Italian could not bear it. That she cheated on him with whomever she wanted, with any badger, as he said, he almost didn’t care. Well, no, he didn’t care, but since he too was cheating on him, in his mind, it was part of the natural order of things.
Couples. In couples, we are wrong, that’s how it is. That does not mean that we no longer love. He once explained this to me. I had let him speak then, why waste time arguing with such a moron? I didn’t want to give her a hold. It annoyed him even more.
We are wrong, we sleep a little right to left, just to get excited. And we go home, after a shower with cheap soap, we pretend to be fine. We give this image around us and the friends find it great. Because they also pretend. That is what I told him at the end of our discussion.
It had offended him
But this guy was not completely stupid and he had, however, felt that I could be a threat to the balance, even precarious, of his couple. Of course, they had already separated several times, to get back together, on promises of common life that they would not keep either.
It suited him very well, because he loved, not conquest, but the reconquest of his wife. Once acquired, he lost interest. But he knew that this time it was different. Because I had entered the life of his wife and Francesca had changed.
He had already spied on us when we were both. Francesca laughed at my nonsense during our joint dinners. She devoured my eyes. I spoke to her in a low voice; when you wanted someone to listen to you carefully, you had to speak quietly.
She stiffened when he, her husband, hugged him in front of me. Francesca was asking for my opinion. Francesca was quoting me. Francesca was jealous when I told her about other friends of mine. And he perceived it. And tried to play with that:
– But how, Ilaria, do you have other friends than my wife?
– But yes, I have blondes, a redhead too. And even brunettes! But Francesca is my favourite brunette. And she knows it.
Francesca was blushing then, and he saw him. Inside him, it made him mad with rage. He almost trembled and then became awkward, under my scrutinizing gaze. I made fun of him when he spilled his cup of coffee or smudged himself.
He knew I was having fun with him and he couldn’t stand it. But how could his wife have become infatuated with this chick, this kind of pseudo-artist of which one never really knew what she thinks? That’s about what he should say.
And the worst, for him I think, was Davide, who alluded on allusion, before him, on our friendship with Francesca and me. Davide was also playing with him, when he said to Francesca:
– But anyway , you know very well that it is written that you will go on weekends with Ilaria.
And Francesca answered him, blushing even more:
– Yes, I know, but I also know what might happen, and I’m not ready for that.
And Davide insisted, encouraged by my laughing glance:
– It is to move back to better jump, if you allow me the expression.
And him, it irritated him and asked the stupid question:
– But what is at risk to arrive finally, if you leave together?
And Francesca’s cruel answer fell:
– Forget it, you can’t understand. It’s a joke between Ilaria and me.
He then left the table and went to watch TV. Francesca sighed, glad I had won a few minutes of peace with me. Without him. For all these reasons, Davide urged me to no longer accept to have dinner together. “
To be continued.