They say that a butterfly can flap its wings and cause a tornado halfway across the world which is just a romanticized way to say that the smallest, most insignificant factors can change the course of our lives, can turn calm into storm. That small, insignificant moment for me was when I held a stranger’s eyes that one second too long over miniature rainbow-colored umbrellas on a beach somewhere on the Indian Ocean. One second we were strangers and the next, the sun was rising, a literal tequila sunrise if you will- syrupy grenadine reds and oranges and streaks of pink- and I had sand in every crease of that cotton dress you loved so much. One second was enough to put me here stomach-up on the grass in Jardin des Tuileries, when I should have been admiring the Monets nearby in the kind of outfit that can only be worn in the City of Light. One second is what made me drink almost an entire bottle of Beaujolais at lunch, sitting outside before the rain at our favorite table at that unpronounceable place on Rue des Rosiers with the wobbly wicker chairs all facing the street. The best seat in town to watch life unfold, you would say to me, between drags of your hand-rolled cigarette. I hated your smoking but I loved your old soul, how you would scribble French poetry on pieces of paper that you kept in your pockets and would eventually end up running after when they slipped out, flying away with the wind, which they inevitably always did. I used to laugh as you grasped violently at the air at the little elusive paper squares that said things like corps de femme, blanches collines, and cuisses blanches. Somehow I convinced myself that smoking, poetry and old souls were inseparable. I should have known that one vice leads to many.
I should have know that even the people we think belong to us are just strangers that we let into our lives and write into our narrative, thinking that we know the character enough to plan the next chapters. But we can never know. A character is fictional, they exist as we want them to, as we create them in our minds, and at a certain point in the book, you turn the page and they deceive you. From one punctuation point to the next, they reveal their flaws. Like when you arrive at his five-floor walkup in the Marais on a Monday afternoon, unexpected. I keep going back to the one second it took to turn the key and find him there inside my linen bed sheets and inside someone who wasn’t me. And I stood wordless like the fool that I was as I thought about that one damned second too long, the superfluous second, all the months before, on a beach on the Indian Ocean when I held his gaze and he mouthed bonsoir. That was the butterfly and this, this is the natural disaster.
I love music just as much as I love writing, so in case you're like me, I'll provide you with a song that would be a good "soundtrack" for this story: Perfect Strangers (Acoustic) by Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper.
If writing intrigues you, read ten very short stories which are now available as a cute collection in my first eBook: This Sweet Life. You can download it for FREE in my store! Or read the included pieces as individual posts:
Creative Writing: The Letter R (Explicit)
Creative Writing: Dear Italy (A Love Letter)
Creative Writing: Airport Arrivals
Creative Writing: Tanqueray and You
Creative Writing: A Thousand Lives
Creative Writing: A Sunday Kind of Love
Creative Writing: Perfect Strangers in Switzerland
Creative Writing: Rooftops and Rome
Creative Writing: The Morning After in New York
Creative Writing: Mulberries in Sicily