Excerpt for Looking For Love in the City Of Love by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Taylor Howe

Creative Writing

23 October 2017

The City of Love

I roamed the city of Paris at 9 o’clock on a sunny, spring morning. I only had my sweater and scarf, no jacket. I also had no money. Newly single, I was traveling with my two best friends who bragged about their boyfriends every day. Which was hard. I know it shouldn’t bug me, but after being practically broken up with while you’re traveling abroad is tough.

All the tourist shops have shirts that say “Love is in the air” and “You’ll never love like this again”. I understand, “ The City of Love” marketing gimmicks but can’t the world give a college girl a break here. I’m not looking to love anything right now, other than some “support” money coming into my account today from my mom and this black mocha latte and crepe made by the cutest old women I’ve ever seen.

My first sip of coffee heaven was interrupted by an enthusiastic, “Let’s go to the top of the Eiffel Tower!” by Olivia, the type A of the group. I have no money and all I wanted to do was bask in the sun while it was still out and eat this crepe under the tower. That’s all. Simple request.

“Yeah! Before the clouds roll in so we can get some awesome aerial photos of the city!” agreed Lucy as my mouth was watering for the strawberries and chocolate at the bottom of my crepe bowl.

“I’m alright guys, I’d rather save my money and hang around and just take it all in. I’m still not feeling up to much right now, so I’m just going to lay in the park and sun bathe or something free”, I mutter.

“Ok Rosey whatever you say, we’re going to go get in line. It might take like an hour or so. Is that ok with you?”

“Yup go ahead! Me and this crepe have a hot date, way over there,” as I pointed to the open field behind the tower, where little children were blowing bubbles and a small jazz band played music on the cobble stone sidewalk. That is my kind of spot to relax.

As my friends got in line for the tower, I couldn’t help but think of Max. The ex-boyfriend. This shouldn’t be what I’m focused on in the midst of taking snapchats of the kind of ugly colored tower and stuffing the second half of the huge crepe in my mouth, but yesterday we went to the Love Lock Bridge. At this bridge you take a lock and sharpie you and your lover’s name on it, “K and L forever”, “I love you Ricky!”, “Jason and Rae 2016” blah blah blah. And then you lock it up, throw one key in the river and then keep the other. The legend is that the lock will hold your love as long as it’s on there. So of course I didn’t write Max’s name, which would break the trend. I wrote “Rose and whoever makes me happy” or something corny like that, so my friends didn’t seem awkward to do it with their boyfriend’s names.

I noticed the line stopped moving, I’m guessing kind of a hold up. Oh well, because that meant more ME time and less “take my picture so I can send it to Will!” nonsense. Which is what I heard what felt like every hour. The City of Love, great place for a heartbreak.

I finished my crepe. I finished my coffee. I finished my snapchatting for the time being. Nothing much left to do at that moment except relax.

And then I saw him.

The most dreamy, handsome, and tall man I have ever seen in my life. I was jaw to the ground laying on my blanket just staring at him. He was blowing bubbles for the local kids and using huge hoops to do so. They were treating him like a hero, and I was staring at him like one. I had to get over there. With what felt like one giant scoop I snagged the blanket, my purse, my heart, and I started walking towards this beautiful human. Then I stopped and thought to myself.

What if he doesn’t speak English? What if he does? What do I say? I wonder if he’s old? Too young? I bet he has a dreamy name…

All in about five steps I have thought of every question in the book, but I knew I had to meet him. I kept walking slowing, kind of making a beeline for the dream guy. Weaving up and down the sidewalk, around locals with their dogs, tourists and cameras, fit moms and baby strollers, and soon enough I was probably ten yards from this man. I decided to ask him if I could join the bubble blowing.

Was that weird? What would Max think? Who even is Max? HE broke up with ME, what do I care what HE thinks! I wonder how long the girls will be...

“Hi miss, would you like to join?” the most beautiful voice in the world spoke softly over the loud laughter of all the children.

Not realizing it was me he was talking to, because I subconsciously made my way to the bubble bucket as I was freaking out, and now I had to actually SPEAK?!

“Uh, Hi! I would love to join, yes, thank you, yes!” what was I even saying?

“My name is James, and you?” In his thick French accent talking to a not morning bird, traveling, college girl with a $16 budget for the day and probably still had chocolate on my face, or on my shirt, yup on my shirt…

“My name is Rosalina, Rosie for short.”

“Oh how beautiful, are you American?” He said followed by a soft flutter of the bubble wand then followed by a wave of giggling laughter from the preschool aged kids.

“Yes I am, I’m just waiting for my friends and figured I would walk around a little.”

“Walking around is the only way you get to see the real city, stay away from the tourist buses and maps,” he laughed, “just wander”.

“That’s the plan,” as I am staring into his deep blue, ocean eyes wondering what on earth I did right to meet this amazing creature.

“Does your plan include bubble blowing today Mademoiselle Rosalina?”

“It does now.”

As he grabbed my hand and showed me how to slowly maneuver the giant bubble wand from his bucket of suds, I had not a thought or care in the world besides that coming to the City of Love didn’t mean experiencing it while thinking of your “other half” the whole time. It meant falling in love with something, or maybe even someone, upon your wondrous visit. Take a walk, soak it in, and see where your feet wander to.

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