A paris night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a story about traviling abroad for the first time.

Submitted: September 12, 2013

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Submitted: September 12, 2013

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A stroy taken from: The Changing Season

A Paris Night

Josephina sat at her desk, the old Remington

typewriter quite as she looked out through the window

at the night sky. She turned her attention away from the

bright summer stars and began to work the keys of her

typewrite, putting the finishing touches to her article;

a short piece that brought her back to a night in Paris

where she stood watching the cars drive along the road

way that circled the Arc de Triompe. She had been

watching tourist walk under the arches of the moment,

wondering how she might join them. It seemed, a least to

her an impossible task, ‘how . . . could I walk across this

avenue she asked herself, when so many cars sped from

one lane to another as they circled the monument. ‘She

stood looking across the roadway, anxiously listening to

the noise of the traffic.

“Bonjour Madame “a young lady suddenly said.

A little startled, Josephina turned to see a young lady

dressed in summer clothes, a small back pack strapped

over her shoulder.

‘Bonjour’ she answered in her English version of

French.

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40

‘C’est très gentil “, the young lady said looking over

towards the monument. Josephina looked at the young

lady somewhat puzzled. ‘You are not from Paris?’ the

young lady guessed as she looked at the confused

expression on Josephina’s face.

“No, Josephina said.

‘American?’ the young lady asked looking at the map

in Josephina’s hand.

‘Qui’ she answered, recalling what little French she

had learned in high school, et vous?

‘Moi, je suis de Nice’ the young lady answered looking

down the crowded Avenue des Champs Elysees.

‘Nice, that is far from here’ Josephina said turning her

head towards the avenue, by the sea, isn’t it?’

‘Qui, the young lady answered . . . It is very dangerous

‘the young lady said her accent coloring the words her

French accent.

‘Yes . . . it is Josephina answered ‘looking at the traffic

that circled the grand old monument.

The young lady called out to a policeman. They spoke

for a few short minutes; she pointing to the monument he

smiling as he shook his head. They left the behind the

madness that circled the Arc de Triomphe, unaware of

the route to the monument, the kindly policeman haven

forgotten to tell them and began to walk down the Avenue

Champ-Elysees. As they walked along the avenue under

streets lamps, the young lady spoke of her short life, of

her days attending school in Nice, of her ambitions to

attend university in the Americas, her love of travel. She

suddenly stopped walking and became silent. ‘Would

you, she finally said like to see the Lido boy dancers?’

Josephina stopped and looked at the young lady ‘the

lido boy dancers?’ she asked.

Th e Ch a ngi ng Se a son

41

‘Yes’ the young lady said pointing up to a sign that

read, Lido de Paris.

There was a moment of silence followed by and

growing sense of excitement. Josephina looked up at the

sign. Its bright blue and white lights glaring in the Paris

night ‘Yes . . . finely said, throwing caution to the wind

and watching it take flight into the Paris night sky.

Leaving the thoughts of what Winfred and his nephew

might be doing behind, she looked over at the young lady

‘shall we.’

‘Bien qui’ Axellle said. They walked down a narrow

dark hall into the large dining room where they sat at a

table close to the bar. The night’s end came too soon

and the cabaret too short. They stood up from their table

and smiled as they walked down the hallway towards

the entrance of the cabaret. As they walked out onto the

avenue, Axelle looked at Josephina and smile ‘bien, ce

que vous avez . . . she stopped . . . so, what did you . . .’

‘Merveilleux’ Josephina said . . . absolutely wonderful . . . !

She repeated, as she looked up at the Paris night sky.

‘Must you go?’ Axelle asked as she watched

Josephina wave for a taxi.

Josephina looked down long tree lined avenue, the

bright lights of the Avenue des Champs Elysees begged

her to stay, ‘Yes . . . Josephina said, it’s late and my

husband and nephew are waiting for me.’

‘Yes, Josephine said, it’s late; my husband and

nephew are waiting for me at the hotel, perhaps you can

visit us.’

‘But . . . I don’t know where you live, Axellle said as

the taxi drove up alongside of them, comment vais-je

recevoir en contact?’

Be r n a r d Re n a u d

42

Josephine looked in her purse and pulled out a small

card; here, she said . . . call us as soon as you arrive.’

Axelle reached out for the card, ‘Bonne nuit et bon

voyage . . . have a good trip’ she said again in a low voice

as she waved good bye.

‘Be good’ Josephine said as she stepped into the

taxi.

A short time later she arrived at their small hotel near

the la Tour Montparnasse. Winfred and Nickolas were

nowhere to be seen, so she decided to take a bath, a

task that would require some doing, given the extreme

narrowness of the bathroom. Unconcerned about the

whereabouts of her husband or nephew, she squeeze

in through the open door and began to run the water for

her bath. Some hours latter into the night, Nicolas and

Winfred returned to the hotel; as tourist; whose naivety

had been lost somewhere in the streets of Paris.

‘It’s time to go Winfred said; Josephina will be getting

a little worried.’

‘Yeah, I guess so Nicolas said it would’ve been nice

to walk a little more, along this avenue.’

‘Maybe tomorrow . . . now we have to find an entrance

for the subway.’

They walked a short while, searching for an entrance

only to discover, after descending a flight of stairs, the

subway was closed. ‘What do we do now?’ Nicolas asked

looking at the large steel gates.

‘I guess we’ll have to walk!’ Winfred said looking up

the flight of stairs.

They chose, as their starting point, a colorful street,

whose beginning, or end depending on your point of

view was the grand old monument that so many Parisian

circled night and day. Sometime into their journey, along

Th e Ch a ngi ng Se a son

43

the well light Avenue they came to the realisation that,

in spite of their well-designed tourist map, they lost and

quite unsure if their direction would bring them to their

hotel or to the darker corners of Paris.

Winfred slowed his pace to a crawl as he looked at

the map, ‘Where are we?’ he suddenly asked.

Nicolas stopped just a few steps ahead . . . ’I’m

not sure, uncle, he shouted back. He walked back

towards his uncle stopping next to him, I think . . . we

are here, in the 3rd arrondissement and we want to be

there’ he said pointing to a colorful depiction of the Tour

Montparnasse.’

“No, Nicolas . . . that’s impossible, Winfred said

looking at the map, I’m pretty sure we are . . . he hesitated

for a moment . . . it’s such a colorful street, how could we

have gone wrong?’

For a moment they stood under a street lamp looking

at the map, quite muddled. ‘Well, Winfred finally said

looking down the street I guess we just keep walking. As

they strolled down the street muddling over the direction,

a kindly Parisian taxi driver pulled up alongside them,

shouting out something in his Parisian accent. Exactly

what neither was sure but it seemed, at least to them and

perhaps more so to two lost tourist, the kindly Parisian

cab driver was offering some assistance.

‘Yes ‘Winfred said with a sigh of some relief. He

walked over the car, opened its passenger side door

and stepped in, followed closely by Nicolas who, given

little other choose, sat in the back. The kindly Parisian

cab driver sped off mumbled a few words as they drove

along the avenue. A few moments passed without any

utterance in those sounds familiar to Parisians or those

more familiar to Winfred or Nicolas. ‘as-tu envie . . . to,

Be r n a r d Re n a u d

44

the driver suddenly said, struggling through his Parisian

version of English, go to . . . un . . . place where, les

hommes meet les femmes?’

Winfred sat, looking out the window of the car,

somewhat muddled; hommes . . . femmes . . . meet . . . ? ‘A

disco . . . ? Winfred thought.’ A dance hall . . . ! Nicolas

concluded as he looked out through the window of the

taxi. ‘Why not . . .’ Winfred suddenly decided tossing

caution to the wind and watching if take flight into the

Paris night sky.

A few moments later the taxi cab driver turned off the

street, onto a small crescent shaped driveway, stopping

at the front entrance to what Winfred and Nicolas thought

would be a night filled merriment, ‘Dans quelques . . .

minuets, the cab driver said, Je viendrai vous rejoindre.’

Winfred smiled at the driver as he and Nicolas stepped

out of the cab, ‘Did he say he was going to join us?’

‘I think so’ Nicolas said, as they watched the kindly

cab driver rush off into the Paris night.

‘You went where . . . ?’ Josephina asked them,

wrapping a small white towel around her head, you mean

a brothel.’

‘Well . . . Winfred said, yes, with expensive champagne

and very large door men.’

‘I hope, she said with a smile, you behaved yourself.’

‘I turned down two invitations to go down stairs,

though I’m not sure what was going on down there, but

did buy a nice blonde lady a glass of champagne, who

would have thought one glass of champagne could cost

so much!’

‘And Nicolas . . . ?’

‘I just sat and watch uncle Winfred smile, a lot.’

Th e Ch a ngi ng Se a son

45

Josephina smiled as she recalled their first night in

Paris. A thought crept into her mind . . . as she looked

out through the window at the clouds drifting over the

crescent moon. She reached over for the small Remington

typewriter;

Dear Axelle,


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