Though Monique had come from Paris with her mother when she was only five, and was half Russian, she was as unmistakably French as the Eiffel Tower. Maybe it was the way her mermaid's eyes tilted at the corners, or the proud set of her head atop her ballerina's neck, or the whimsical tilt of her luxuriant mouth. Whatever it was, I was entranced from the moment we met.
Her tiny closet of an apartment on the Lower East Side was a testament to her loyalty to all things French and enough to tell me ridicule would have ended our friendship.
Her cushions were swathed in thrift-store toile, and screens painted with scenes of Montmartre and the Seine covered the reality of New York outside her haven. Red wine, cheese, and bread were her preferred sustenance. She nursed pots of lavender de Provence and fragrant thyme on the fire escape in the summer, and saw them through the winter with the love of a mother.
Monique listened to Piaf on an old turntable because, she explained, without the crackles and snaps of a record album being caressed by a needle, the music was not "right". That long hot summer, making love in her iron, curlicued bed, I began to agree with her.
"Ah, mon chéri, tu es tant sexy!" she purred.
I didn't understand most of what she said in French, but it didn't matter. Anything that came out of her mouth was titillating to me.
Piaf sang Sous le ciel de Paris, and I reclined like an emperor while Monique devoured me.
Usually, our lovemaking was a back and forth tussle for control. At various times, she would give in, or I would, or we'd just melt together in a tangle of body parts. We fucked like people with no modesty, no shame, and no boundaries. Sometimes it was hard and fast, over in a flash. Other times we lasted all day, occasionally spending entire weekends naked, fucking, eating, talking, and listening to music.
Our relationship was still new, but I had a feeling it would always be this way. We just seemed to fit one another in every way, both physical and mental. I know everyone in the throes of new love says things like that, but with us, it was true. I knew no matter what happened my life would never be the same.
First Published by Erotiqué Press in 2009 as Smoke and MirrorsRepublished by Renaissance Press in 2011 in my short story collection Kinky Tales
Republished by Burning Book Press in 2013 in my short story collection Amaranthine Rain