Written by Nandini Sethi
There was a strange man speaking to me,
Mouthing words too loud, too foreign,
But I didn’t catch any of it,
Over the sound of Paris in the Rain.
It was on a sunny Saturday afternoon,
I found a cute little cafe on a broken, pebbled road,
It was buzzing with boys in berets, but I paid them no heed,
As I dug into my stinky, exquisite cassoulet.
The waiter serving me didn’t need to ask any questions,
He knew right away I wasn’t a fan.
So, when he came to me with an empty bill and a chocolate in hand,
I knew I was in love with this man I couldn’t understand.
I told him to meet me the next day at 5:00,
By the lake, where the lovers coined this city for themselves,
And he smiled at me sweetly,
Even more than the chocolate I savoured on my way home.
I was sure I had found my summer love,
On a winter evening in France,
But when I stood waiting at the Lover’s Lake,
He never turned up.
I have experienced heartbreak many times in my life,
But I expected more from this city that never seems to disappoint.
After that day the city breads didn’t taste fresh, the wine seemed stale,
The soufflés weren’t fluffy, and boys in berets no longer came.
So, when it came to be the last day of my stay here,
I couldn’t believe I was happy to go.
I decided to take one final walk,
To bid the city of heartbreak a final goodbye.
Down by the same road,
I came looking for another chance at love,
I found nothing,
But a wishing well with no coins.
On my way back to the hotel,
I was shocked to find a man in a beret,
Wandering around aimlessly,
With a look of sorrow in his eye.
Heavens had fallen! It was the same man,
Snacking on the same bar of chocolate,
Giving me the same look of endearment,
As that day in the broken down cafe.
I waited no longer, and I ran towards him,
Grabbed him by the waist, touching his face,
As I locked my lips with his,
Vowing to relish my incomplete Parisian romance.
For a minute or two we stood like that,
In the middle of the street in the numbing cold;
I couldn’t believe my luck as I said to him,
“I can’t believe my luck! I have found you at last.”
A blaring ringtone interrupted the romantic reunion,
It jolted me out of my daze and brought me back to my senses;
The man was indeed the same, but I had questions now,
“Why did you never turn up that day at 5:00?”
He looked confused for a moment,
Then leaned in for another kiss,
And I would have gladly indulged,
If wasn’t for the blaring phone in his pocket again.
He looked at me guiltily before answering,
But my ears had tuned in to listen to the man on the other line,
The one with the exact same voice and words,
As the person who stood behind.
I almost broke my neck,
I turned my head so fast;
Only to come face-to-face
With the same man in front of me.
My eyes bulged out of my head
As I saw the same eyes, same lips once again.
When I turned again to see the same man,
I felt like I was going to faint.
The man behind came to stand next to his doppelgänger,
Giving me a cheeky smile and while scratching his head,
He turned to his brother to say,
“I was looking for you all over the place.”
He looked at me again,
To tell me they were twins,
And he opened his mouth again,
But I didn’t hear a single thing.
I watched in horror and amazement,
How my summer love story came to be two.
I was still gazing, as the boys spoke to me, screaming, shouting to get me out of my daze,
But in vain; all I heard was deafening noise over the sound of Paris in the rain.