#amwriting – #fridayfiction
It is after midnight when Max arrives back at the hotel and climbs into bed. She is weary but given the mix of thoughts running through her head it is impossible to find sleep. For over an hour she tosses and turns lying first on her right side and then her left, scrunching the pillow into a ball then flattening it. Nothing works. Finally she fluffs the pillow, drops her head onto it and lies on her back staring up at the ceiling.
The window is cracked open ever so slightly, a narrow slit that allows the cool night air to drift in. With it come the sounds of the street—the grumble of motorbikes, the bark of a dog, bits of conversation, footsteps. These sounds never change; even now they are as they were then.
It matters not whether her eyes are open or closed she still sees Julien with tears in his eyes. It was obvious, he remembered. But if so, then why did he not come tonight? Did she misread his intent of the café? But if not the Café du Marche, then where? Perhaps one of the small cafés on Boulevard Saint Germain? Or the dimly lit restaurant on Grenelle? They’d had good times in every one of those places, but was one more meaningful to him? Did he have a special connection to another café and she’d simply failed to see it? She has seen Julien and he has recognized her, but still there are only questions, the answers are as elusive as Julien himself.
She thinks back to the day they parted. It was with the promise that Julien would soon follow. Walking through the airport complex he’d tightened his arm around her and she’d felt the hardness of his hipbone nestled into the fleshiness of her waist. He held her close until that last moment when she’d stepped into the security clearance line. Before she moved to the line he’d pulled her body into his and she’d felt the rapid beat of his heart. Even now she can feel the warmth of his breath in her ear as he whispered his words of love.
It was a long goodbye, long and painful.