We're still on the topic of "believing in love" and I reveal my impossible dream.
"I want love that gives me complete security and total freedom," I say laughing, like it's the most outrageous thing in the world to ask of love. The three men in the room don't laugh at all; I hear little sounds of agreement and the puffing of a vape. The man with his hands on my feet, sitting under the soft crescent of my legs, is calm. I want to test the idea out loud in his presence, see if he squirms or makes a comment about neediness or fidelity. We all go on talking. No one says my dream is impossible.
Future husband and I needed very specific things from each other when we met, as if our opposing energies were just the right voltage for the other to plug into. I needed someone to take care of me for a little while, help me stabilize my finances, offer emotional support, and he needed a brave, worldly partner to help him navigate through the new and sometimes frightening realities of leaving his country for the first time at age 38 to find himself and start anew.
We also liked the poetry of the other person. It was a skills check between us for a kind of cultural battle, two rebels who would never slip into sleepy platitudes, two rebels who assigned meaning to everything. Anarchy! I wasn't loyal to my country or any country, he had been beaten by his. It was exhilarating not to be held to anything but the possibility of togetherness. There was a genuine sense that we could conquer anything together. I especially liked his genteel way and his heart. He liked my sparkle and affection. He was very well-read and a rebel artist. He liked when I read to him.
His story was totally captivating. I loved him.
Paris. Le Marais. Each night I sit two small bars directly across from each other, La Belle Hortense and Le Petit Fer à Cheval and each night I meet a new man to seduce. I gossip with repeat characters like the bourgeois gay jewelry designers and their poétesse from Tunisia. One evening I meet a Swiss violinist in town for a concert with his national orchestra. We sit at the bar for a long time talking, he buys me glass after glass of red wine. I can see myself from outside myself, I've become this character I was destined for, part naïve apple pie, part serpent seductress. I'm going to make him fall in love with me.