From Paris with Love

I almost forgot how this story started. That’s not because it wasn’t a special encounter but perhaps because it was and still is. Let me tell you about one of the most beautiful times in my life and why that feeling means more to me today than how the story started or ended.

We chatted online in 2006. I was a second year Psychology student. He was an accomplished young botanist from France. He had travelled out to Australia for a Fellowship at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

We decided to eventually meet at a place called Thaina Box on Oxford Street (the place has since closed). As I walked in I remember thinking he was incredibly handsome. He smiled at me and introduced himself. He displayed that awkward friendliness I often attribute to international visitors who want to make friends fast, but who are concerned that their English will be a barrier. His English was fine.

As we chatted over dinner I remember being far too honest with him. Perhaps because it was such a pleasure to be around him. I awkwardly expressed that I wasnt sure if it was a date or whether he just wanted to meet new people in Sydney. He smiled and responded.

“Well, it’s a date if that is okay with you?”

His sexy yet crooked smile was irresistible as he played footsies with me underneath the table. To be honest I didn’t remember much. Mainly because I was mesmerized by his smile, the twinkle in his eye and probably just because I talked way too much!

Gabriel (a pseudonym) and I couldn’t get enough of each other. He wasn’t shy about me at all. I was promptly introduced to his housemate, her friends and he quickly made the effort to meet mine.

Gabriel had a positive influence on me. He didn’t look at other men, he constantly told me how beautiful I was and he would go for runs with me (he was pretty fit). We would discuss science like passionate nerds and everything between us was reasonably effortless. Though he would hate me saying this, he was as romantic as a French clichè.

Gabriel decided to move house. He wanted a studio of his own and his living situation was only a temporary one while he found his feet in Australia. So I helped him move all his furniture and he cut me a key to his new pad in Kings Cross.

I had never had such a warm and inviting relationship with a man. He wanted me to have access to his home whenever I felt like it and when we were out he didn’t look at a single guy except me.

When we are young we sometimes choose to see things with an optimistic lens. Gabriel was on a Fellowship, which meant that his visa was only temporary. The second half of his contract was in London.

We discussed it a few times but we both agreed that we would try to make it work because what we had was so special. We really got out and did things together. Hiking in the Blue Mountains, going for runs together, dancing together until dawn at dance parties and going to barbecues together.

The sex was incredible too. Kinky and romantic in just the right doses. We were like horny schoolboys who couldn’t get enough of being in the shower together.

Listening to this, you’d think we were together almost a year. No. All this beautiful energy evolved in only three months.

One day I came over to make Hervè dinner. Gabriel wasn’t big with his words. If he wanted to compliment food he would say something like ‘wow, it doesn’t even need salt.’ The man was addicted to the stuff.

He told me my dinner didn’t even need salt. I said three words.

“I love you.”

Gabriel gushed and said it back to me and the night was spent with hours of lovemaking.

A week later, Gabriel had to travel interstate for work. Madly in love I wanted to tell someone significant about my relationship. I told my dad because I was convinced I had found the one.

On the evening of Gabriel’s return I had to work. I took what little money I had left from my student bank account and went shopping. I bought Gabriel a book of erotic photography, a teddy bear and wrote a welcome back card telling him how much I loved him. I let myself into his apartment and positioned the gifts. The teddy bear sat upright holding the book and in front of it the card. I went to work.

On my break I texted him as I knew he would have made it home by now. I told him ‘I can’t wait to see you.’ I didn’t get a response.

After work I noticed a reply. It was brief but gave me comfort. The text said ‘thank you beautiful Andrew’.

I arranged to have dinner with him the following night. As I walked in, something was off. Normally he would greet me at the door but he was asking me how I was from the bathroom.

I placed the dinner ingredients on the kitchen bench and yelled out to him.

“How was the trip?” I asked.

Again he answered briefly from the bathroom. I could hear drawers opening and closing but it didn’t sound like he needed privacy or had to be doing whatever he was doing.

My heart sank. I knew in my gut that something was wrong. But when I feel this way I try even harder to deny the signals, in the vain hope that my instincts are just needless worry.

He walked over and told me the worst four words in the English language.

“We need to talk”

I cried as we sat down and talked. He told me he was madly in love with me and he didn’t want to get in any deeper since the relationship would end when he had to leave Australia. I begged him to find a way to stay but in my heart I knew he was right. It broke my heart.

A few months later we caught up as friends and to give what we once had together just some little bit of closure. We were drinking amongst my friends at the Green Park Hotel in Sydney and as we pushed through the crowd to the exit he said something to me.

“You know sometimes you see a guy across the room and think he’s really cute? Well I just saw a cute guy and then I noticed, oh that’s Andrew”

He hadn’t lost his charm. I knew I would always mean something to him and he would definitely mean something to me.

Sometimes life isn’t perfect enough to allow things to happen the way we like but at least they teach us that good things are possible even for a short time.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to show your appreciation by donating below. Thank you.


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Published by changeofheart82

The Phoenix is a symbol of strength and renewal. My tattoo is to remind me to shine as bright as flames flying through the air, and to remember that no matter how bad things get, I will rise from the darkness transformed and better.

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