It’s Paris, Silly
Turns out, we weren’t the only ones late. A heavy-set man sat behind the wheel, smoking a cigarette. In broken English, he told us that the tour guide would be arriving any minute now, and asked us to take a seat. We climbed on board, and I saw that the only empty seats were behind a middle-aged man with a pretty young lady sitting next to him. As we walked down the aisle, I couldn’t help but take in how beautiful she was. Her curly blond hair almost touched her shoulders. She wore a white lace blouse without sleeves that fit snugly over her full bosom. Her face was translucent, white as snow. I tried to look without being obvious, but anyone could see how I stared. Luckily, I was in front of my wife and she didn’t notice. I took the window seat directly behind the young woman. Now, when she turned to speak to her companion, I was treated to glimpses of her cute nose, and sensuous lips. She spoke German to him. That someone with such fine delicate features as her, could utter a harsh, guttural language like German, seemed impossible to me. But somehow, I found it erotic. I put my hand on the back of her seat, inches from her shoulder. I rested my head against the window so I had a better view of her face. When the bus finally pulled out, it lurched sideways, and my hand brushed against her bare skin. The girl turned towards me and said something in German. I apologized and folded my hands in my lap. Her companion spoke to her, but from the tone of her voice, and the way she waved her hands, I could tell she made light of my intrusion.
I tried to discern who the man was. He didn’t look old enough to be her father, but not young enough to be a lover. Or maybe he was?
My wife patted my hand.
“Look at this.” She pointed to her phone, whispering. “I got a text from Maureen. It says a lady needs to be careful when visiting Paris. You’re more than likely to get your bottom pinched.”
“I think she means Italy.”
“No. It’s Paris, silly. She would know. She’s been everywhere.”
I knew it was Italy, but I wasn’t going to argue.
I tried to relax and turned my attention to the woman in front of me. I leaned forward a bit, turned my nose up, and took in a deep breath. Was that her perfume I was able to smell?
“What are you doing?” my wife asked.
“You wearing perfume?” I asked, ignoring her question.
“No. Sit back. You’re acting strange.”
So, it was the woman in front of me. The bus drove on, and I should have been watching the route it took through the city. Instead of admiring the Arc De Triomphe, I stared at the back of the girl’s head, catching whatever glimpse I could sneak of her face. I wished I knew German, so I could understand her conversation with the man.
The bus stopped at our first destination. Everyone stood to get off and I was able to get a view of the rest of the girl’s body. She wore powder blue shorts, white sneakers, and bobby socks to match. The hips and legs that I couldn’t see while she sat, were now visible to me. My mind started thinking of possibilities that were never going to happen. We disembarked by the banks of the Seine. The girl and her friend boarded the boat, and I ushered my wife close behind. We sat a few feet away from them. Our next stop, the Eiffel Tower, was visible behind us. The boat worked its way slowly down the river, and I took pictures of the scenery and people walking along the banks. One group danced to the music on the radio. Sometimes, I’d focus on something inconspicuous, and quickly move my camera to the young woman who was oblivious to me and snap her picture instead. I silently prayed that she’d stand up so I’d get a full-length shot of her, and by God she did. I felt a throbbing in my loins. I snapped away, knowing I would need to delete these before my wife saw them. Hopefully, I’d have some time alone with them.
The girl said something to her friend, then walked towards the back of the boat. My eyes followed, and when she went down a flight of stairs, I knew she was headed for the lady’s room. I told my wife I’d be right back and took pursuit. If we crossed paths, maybe she’d smile at me, or even better, say something. I should say something, I thought and searched my mind for any German I might know. I couldn’t think of anything, and loitered outside the restrooms, checking the pictures of her on my phone. Somehow, I was intent on starting a conversation with the girl. To my chagrin, her companion came down the stairs. He saw me and frowned. He waited outside the lady’s room, pacing back and forth. I felt awkward standing there. I figured I should pretend I’m waiting for someone, but how do you pretend to be waiting? Then it came to me. I pulled the men’s room door open and shouted, “You almost done in there?”
To my surprise, someone answered, in French. I had no idea what they said. I leaned against a wall and buried my head in my phone. Shit, what if the guy came out? What should I do? To my relief, the German girl waltzed out of the lady’s room. She looked at me, but her friend grabbed her by the arm and led her up the stairs. He turned towards me and with the edge of his lip, he sneered. I don’t think my little act fooled him. I waited a bit then went back to find my wife.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yea, I’m fine.”
From where we were sitting, I could see the girl talking to her friend. She must have complained of the chill in the air because he pulled a sweater out of his knapsack. Instead of putting it on, she threw it over her shoulders and crossed the arms of the sweater under her chin.
The remainder of the ride bored me. I wrestled with the poison of carnal thoughts that filled my mind. My wife must have sensed my restlessness and took me by the hand. We strolled past the couple, my eyes peeled to the ground, and walked the length of the boat.
The boat returned to its dock, and we proceeded to the Eiffel Tower. I lost the couple in the crowd. At the top, I took pictures of the view, and we stopped at the champagne bar. We were getting ready to leave when I saw the girl and her companion on the other side of the platform. They were leaving also.
“Come on, ‘hon,” my wife said. “I’ve had enough. Let’s get online for the elevator. Did you see how long it is?"
We were one of the last few people to get on. I managed to work my way to the center. A cascade of hands held onto the pole for support. I found room for mine, and so did my wife. To my surprise, the girl appeared in front of me, with her back towards me, and she grabbed the pole. Her friend was in front of her, staring me in the eye. The elevator moved, and everyone rocked back and forth. Some kids shrieked at the movement. The girl leaned on me for a moment. I felt her body against mine. That one second of contact was exhilarating. She caught her balance and stood upright. Just then, an idea came to me. I thought back to the text message my wife showed me earlier. I put my free hand, fingers outstretched, behind the girl. No one could see my arm, waiting for the next lurching moment. When it came, I placed my palm firmly on her butt and gave her a good squeeze. Why should the Italians have all the fun?
Steve Bays has self-published a collection of short stories. His Facebook page is located at Steven Bays | Facebook. A short story of his, “Ten Questions for God '' was accepted for publication by The Tifferet Journal. The story published here, “It’s Paris, Silly’ has never been published before. This is his second publication. His email id is email@example.com
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