“Voulez-vous avoir un rendez-vous avec moi?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“Rendez-vous,” he pointed to me, pointed to himself.
“Oh, no, no, merci,” I stammered, probably blushing. I hadn’t been asked out on many dates for a twenty-three old, so I hadn’t yet mastered the art of the effective rejection, even in English. Little did I know the persistency of French men…
The young man turned to our friend Hisham and crooned a measure of the lyrical language I had yet to pick up.
Hisham smiled at me. “My friend thinks you are very beautiful. He wants to take you on a date.”
“Oh, tell him thank you, but I am here for such a short time.”
“My friend would take you dancing.”
“That sounds nice, but really, I couldn’t.”
We went on like that for at least another ten minutes until I discovered that the only way to put an end to the cajoling was a firm “no” and turning to speak to my sister in English. She was distracted by Zachary, who pointed to the street artist sketching a little girl in the center of the Montmartre square. It was close to eleven o’clock at night, why wasn’t the little girl in bed, I wondered?
The young man spoke rapidly to Hisham, who then turned to me. “My friend wants to know, can he could take you for a ride on his moto?”
His motorcycle? Images of a bulky Harley Davidson came to mind.
“No, thank you.”
After another round of pleas and protestations, Hisham and the young man came to an agreement.
“You must go back to the hotel, yes?” Hisham asked. “He will take you back en moto, and I will take your sister back.”
I couldn’t recall the young man’s name, but I was supposed to go back to the hotel on the back of his Harley? I began to shake my head again, but instead something in me slipped loose, and I let it go.
“Okay,”I announced, then shot my sister a look that said if I’m not back by midnight, call the police.
The young man led me around the corner, where a rickety motorcycle scarcely larger than a moped and certainly older than both of us leaned against the wall. He handed me the only helmet, and kickstarted the bike after several attempts. Grappling successfully with the helmet, I swung my leg over and wrapped my arms tightly around him, saying a brief prayer.
The city lights shot past us as we darted through traffic. Alive with people, the streets hummed as we wove through them, adding our own melody to the din. I felt alive, too; for the first time in my life, I felt alive. Adrenaline surged through me as we rounded street corners a touch too fast, and when rain began tickling us and dampening the streets, I started laughing.
“D’accord?” the young man yelled back at me.
“Oui,” I yelled back.
I was definitely d’accord.
Linking up with Yeah Write to celebrate their two-year birthday! Stop on by, read posts from amazing writers, then come back Thursday to vote for your favorites. Perhaps submit your own work?