The Chansonnier


He walked casually down the road, happy to have a moment to himself and the shade of the trees to cool his spirit. The party had been long, and though he was sure that all of the attendees thought themselves unique and special snowflakes, they acted exactly the same as all the other rich, white faces he’d encountered since his arrival in Paris, dull and entitled.

It had been a last minute gig picked up as a favor to a friend. François had called him just a couple of hours before the party started with a nasty cough and desperation in his voice. Manny knew François wouldn’t have passed off this type of engagement lightly, especially not to someone with his particular talents. These types of parties pay very well and usually open the door for others. Manuel agreed, not because of the opportunity. He knew his heart wouldn’t be in it. She was still lying in his bed. Her dark eyes following the outline of his body as he tried to focus on his friend. He agreed because he knew François would do the same for him if the tables were turned.

He knew he could convince her to wait for him. He knew what promises to make to tempt her feminitity. He smiled at her as he said goodbye to François. She reached up to him and he accepted.

He had to run to make it to the party on time, his mind still full of her. He would use this for his performance.

Now that the party was finished, he took his time on the return trip. The sun was going down, but the still heat was ever present. His baggy black suit and hat hid well the sweat from the performance, but also refused to let the heat escape.

He reached into his pocket to validate that the money was still there. He would give some of it to François. It was only fair. Besides, he needed François. The rest, he told himself, he would put aside. If he planned well, he could now survive a couple of months of a dry spell.

When he thought of her eyes, he knew he would never hold onto that money. Every time he got near her, he found himself aching to give her the world. He wondered if perhaps this was the *amour* that he’d heard so many speak of since his arrival. It definitely wasn’t the same experience he’d had with girls from home. He wondered if he had a similar effect on her or if she looked at all men the way she looked at him.

As he neared the end of the road, he could hear the sounds of the busy cross section. He would soon be near le Lapin Agile and with money in his pocket. He considered popping in for a quick drink, but thought better of it. He wanted a bath before he met her for a late dinner and if he stopped, well he was likely to miss more than the bath.

Paris was so full of temptations. The local artists called it life, but he knew better. Life added to the weight of your soul. It increased your ability to understand others. It increased your desire to be with others. These Parisian temptations drained your soul, leaving you so weightless that even the lightest of breezes could change your direction. He loved it the same way that a moth loves a flame, but he felt superior to the locals. He knew this was not life, and because he knew it was not life, he knew he could just as easily choose to add weight to his soul whenever he felt like it.

As he opened the door to his “apartement” he was greeted with her smell. His smile widened as he realized it was not the remnant of their afternoon, but the presence of her skin. “You were gone so long I got hungry so I decided just to meet you here. I stopped to get some paté and wine just in case you arrived too late for the last service. I know how those parties can go on and on.” He cringed slightly at the last part. He knew she had had a life before him, but he couldn’t bring himself to think about it. He reminded himself that she was with him now.

He closed the door behind him and accepted the deep, wet kiss she offered him. She tasted ever so faintly of gin and honey. His body stirred. She turned from him and moved toward the kitchenette. “Wine?”

“Of course,” he replied as he moved across the room to put his guitar away. “I’ll take it in the bath.” Drinking wine in the bath made him unconfortable. He much preferred a bold bottle of tequilla, but Paris was not a tequilla town. Paris was full of its own passions, but nothing that could sustain him letting himself go into a bottle of tequilla. He wondered if she could sustain that passion?

He saw the plan incubating behind her inspiring eyes, but he had no clue what she was thinking. He loved the subtley of expressions that passed over her lips when she was thinking. She handed him a glass filled slightly more than it should have been. She winked as she walked past him towards the bed.

He considered that this might have been the extent of her plan. He considered that she had simply had an itch that needed to be scratched and he was the convient means to the end. He considered it, but dismissed it. If he could consider it, there was no way that this was the truth.

He ran his hand along the guitar and removed his hat then followed her happily to the bed. He had no idea where she would ultimately lead him, but he hoped, if nothing else came of it, at least he could have a song.

1000 words exactly

Inspired by CulturedCurmudgeon’s A picture to inspire 1000 words series.

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