I turn 65 next month and I’m not so sure how I feel about that. On one hand, with two cancer scares behind me, I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate the milestone. On the other hand, damn, how’d I get to be 65?
Wasn’t it just last year I had my first crush on the Lone Ranger? And my second on Tonto. Too bad I wasn’t smart enough to know they maybe had their own thang goin’ on, but that’s a topic for another post.
I was going to share ten things I’d learned on the way to social security, but around number seven my attention snagged on “life is short, live your bliss.” So I did a major slash and burn of the post to focus on bliss.
But what is my bliss?
Well, writing of course.
Showing my love for others.
I’ve written a couple books set in the City of Light, and since we are planning to spend most of September there before flying on to Berlin for a week, Paris is uppermost in my mind. I cannot wait. The city beckons like a new pair of red stilettos or chocolate decadent cake or worn soft bed linens. We’ve rented an apartment for our time there. This will be the view from our balcony.
Paris holds a special history for my husband. Calvin grew up in the south during the Jim Crow era. There are still emotional scars from being treated as “less than.” And it is those scars that make him the gentle, caring man he is today. He was in the Army, stationed near Manheim, Germany when he came to Paris on a three-day pass. In this city, he was allowed to walk into a restaurant, to sip espressos next to white patrons and to look a white woman in the eye without fear of retaliation. In his words, “I was born in Virginia, but my soul came alive in Paris.” So after he earned his Masters in sixty-seven, he moved to the jewel beside the Seine for a year and wrote daily at sidewalk cafés, absorbing French culture.
He took me to Paris for a couple weeks on our fifth anniversary nearly five years ago. Without gushing about the city and her architecture and museums and pastry shops—oh gawd, the pastry shops—let me just say I fell in love, too.
But you have to laugh at our circumstance. Calvin, who is 15 years older than I, can’t hear well. He wears a hearing aid. However he is fluent in French, whereas I only speak a few words. We’d gone through customs at the airport when I spied our driver, holding a sign with our name on it. I displayed my vast French vocabulary by walking up to him, smiling and pointing to my husband and I. “Oui.” He rattled off remarks with machine-gun rapidity. I turned to Calvin for him to translate and he said, “What did he say?” Well, hell, I couldn’t repeat it. All I could do was laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Thus began our Parisian adventure.
I have a tendancy to get into odd situations when I travel, especially overseas. While in Paris, I walked into a pharmacie, so noted by the green cross above the door, to buy more lubricant. You know airline regulations. Only so many ounces of lotions and potions. It didn’t take us long to use up one small tube of love lubricant. I stumbled and fumbled with the Parisian salesperson, trying to hand signal what I wanted. I’ll let your mind create its own visuals here. A Sorbonne student set down his guitar case and placed a hand on my back. “Bonjour, my name is Jean-Pierre. Does Madame require some assistance?” I nodded. “You wish to purchase what item?”
His dark eyebrows rose to the kiss the dark curls falling over his forehead. “Like I use for anal intercourse?”
Well crap. I sighed and studied the ceiling for a beat. “For intercourse, yes. Post-menopausal women are often dryer.” Oh gawd, let the ground open up and suck me and my dry self in.
“What did she say?”
“She said you are too old for such foolishness.”
I laughed. “I’ll never be too old.”
To pay him for his kindness, I bought him an espresso at the café across the street. Jean-Pierre was from Avignon and had come to Paris to study art and music. We had a delightful conversation that covered topics from our home towns to philosophy and politics—and to being gay versus being straight. He still emails me from time to time, beginning each message with Hello LL (lubricant lady). Which begs the question…why do people call me by initials? Most friends call me “V.” Jean-Pierre, who’s living in Rome now, calls me LL. Imagine: Me, a woman of letters. And, no, FU is not one of them.
So, after all my nonsensical rambling, I’d like to repeat my mantra. “Life is short. Live your bliss.”
Bliss is what makes your heart sing. Your soul sigh. Your mind retain as sweet memories. What is your bliss?