It’s her smile you notice first.
You’re strolling across the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris on a crisp, clear spring day when you see her standing by the railing, a shy smile on her lips, her hair swept in a chic chignon. A scarf is draped effortlessly around her neck, and she’s holding a bouquet of violets by her side.
She pauses to take in the City of Light and the River Seine below, leaning against the railing with her hands tucked beneath her chin and staring off into the distance, her eyes faraway and dreamy.
Ah, you know that look…the look of first love, when the mere thought of your beloved awakens every cell in your body with a tingling that begins at your toes and works its way up through your spine.
A breeze turns toward you, bringing with it an intoxicating aroma of vanilla, rose, musk, black currant berries and violet.
The girl breaks from her reverie, caught by your gaze, and smiles warmly. You return the feeling, knowingly, as you pass her along the bridge, recalling another time, so many years ago, when you, too, stood in almost the same spot, basking all-too-briefly in the same glow with your American writer, so tall and beautiful, with his brown hair and hazel eyes.
Whatever happened to him? you wonder. Does he still think of you, like you think of him?
Almost across the bridge now, you close your eyes once again and breath deeply, drawing in as much of the scent as you can, letting it sweep you up in its loving embrace.
Another happy girl on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, 2005