by Kristin Barnett & Pete Koufos
But I don’t want to sleep. I want to enjoy every moment of each perfect day and night. You effortlessly make every plan and outing special. There is no worry, no hesitation, no regret. Just me and you with no need for expectations or a deal. No need for a schedule or stress. This is where we were meant to spend a part of our lives together.
We have our favorite places―the ones that remind us of each other. The ones that make us smile and wink at each other from across the room. We spend hours in bookstores. Drink too much coffee, smoke too many cigarettes, and love each other so much.
We sleep for days and then are energized and writing for days. We plan a weekend trip to Burgundy and take the train. A small cottage is waiting for us―ashtrays yearning for the ash from our cigarettes, bottles of wine waiting to be enjoyed by people like us―there are no other people like us.
It’s overcast and we decide to nap the first morning after we’ve made love―no rushing, no schedules. -KB
There are no other people like us. You always say things like that, always right of course, because there isn’t. No one gets this and it makes me grin foolishly and laugh with a child’s delight.
The only two people who love a gray sky, love eating every meal in bed, love each other’s three-day no-shower skin.
It’s overcast and we decide to nap the first morning after we’ve made love―no rushing, no schedules. We are the program and the agenda, and we did enough hurtling and careening through this old fucked up world to get together, stay together, and travel to where we want.
Can you have anticipation without expectations?
We don’t stop touching. We don’t want the other out of reach because there’s comfort and peace in touch, there’s sweat and the feeling of cool air on our skin, the softness of one another’s arms and legs, the bliss of sleep not far off.
When you wake up, I’m gone. You stretch your arms across the empty side of the bed and call out to me. I don’t answer. You smile and roll over and fall asleep. Later, ten minutes or an hour, the small vehicle noise from Rue Jules Guesde wakes you. You call out for me and wait, listen to hear if I’m home. I’m not.
The old French lock cracks open and I’m not sure if you’re awake. I close the door behind me and walk into the room. I peek inside. You smile and hide a little. “Hi dolly.”
In a jiffy, I’m back with nem nuong cuon, broken rice and bun cha from the Vietnamese place down the street. You sit up in bed as I serve up dinner, loving the fact that you’re about to eat naked take-out. You turn on the TV. It’s Step Brothers dubbed in French and we can’t stop laughing. It’s starting to rain and we’re staying in tonight. -PK
We stay in. Our nights are often the same yet always different. It’s always us, we’re always together, but the sheer bliss of another night spent together―no matter what we’re doing―makes it different and exciting. Never know what we’ll do or what we’ll say. What world problems we’d solve or epiphanies we’d reach.
We wake up early, but the sun is already up. I get up first and have your clothes ready for you. We’re going for a long brunch. Long walks. Long talks. We catch an afternoon film and get inspired to cook at home tonight. So we go to the market and find our stuff. The stuff that excites us and will fill our evening with smells and nothing but passion and excitement. -KB
I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to be awake. But you smile at me and treat me to a bowl of cafe au lait. You’re wearing one of my shirts and I can’t take me eyes off of you. Oh, do I want that coffee now! Besides, you have my clothes ready for me. We’re going for a long brunch, you tell me. Long walks. Long talks. We catch an afternoon film and get inspired to cook at home tonight. So we go to the market and find our stuff. The stuff that excites us and will fill our evening with smells and nothing but passion and excitement.
I know exactly where to go. It’s two buses and an hour, or a long curve on the Metro through two arrondissements and 45 minutes, so definitely on the way back? With all our packages, it won’t be hard to convince me to take a cab and cut the return trip to 20 minutes, even in Paris traffic.
So we’re off to the 5th, off to Marché Mouffetard! I’m so excited! Once we cross the busy main road, which neither of us like, the walk might be long but at least it takes us through Parisian off-the-beaten-track neighborhoods.
We stop for brunch at the cafe at the Biosphére on the way. You order a Tartare de saumon, a Salade Vitalité and two Kronenbourg beers. How you always know exactly what to order no matter where we go always surprises me and makes me proud. And I love your accent in French when you order food. Makes me want to bite you, you are so darling! No better word to describe it.
I ask you pick things at the market, too, everything in fact. You think it’s random and you’re shy about your choices―hey, did I put anything back or give you a disapproving shake of my head? No. I want you to be instinctual so that I can improvise in the kitchen, pure improvisation. Food like no one else is eating, not even in Paris, not for dinner at home.
The narrow streets are packed with people. We love how they run this street market or market street―whatever you want to call it. Market stalls close when the sellers go to lunch and often don’t open again, not in the afternoon, not until the next day. Late mornings are the best time to visit. We like that most stalls won’t be fully operational until 10am or later.
You actually find someone selling lotus root and buy some. Challenge accepted, I say, but with the fresh seafood and vegetables you picked, I’m already thinking seafood pot au feu…Don’t forget a bottle of Ricard, dolly! -PK
Food like no one else is eating, not even in Paris, not for dinner at home. You trust me, and you’re excited to see what choices I make. Cuz we both know you can make anything out of anything―”keep it simple, though―5 ingredients or less,” as dolly would say. That’s our way of eating, our way of enjoying the finer things in life.
Nothing complicated, no rules or strict requirements―just simplicity and joy. Like staring at the street market and watching the patrons and saints, the items sold and treasured. There is nothing like it―a cool Saturday morning, sun on your face, the smell of people’s hard work and passion going into what they have to offer.
I’m wearing one of your shirts. It’s all you can think about in between thoughts of me tasting your seafood pot au feu and getting pure joy out of watching you work. -KB
Our little place smells of roots and rain and Ricard and saffron. You’re naked under my shirt. It’s all I can do to keep from grabbing you…You’re obviously telling me something―hair loosened from its bun, eyes wild. Maybe it’s the Ricard and water, the food, the hashish, Paris, the rain, but maybe it doesn’t matter. We never ask what tomorrow will bring or even the next moment. We’re so utterly present and untamed.
Maybe it’s the Ricard and water, the food, the hashish, Paris, the rain, but maybe it doesn’t matter. We never ask what tomorrow will bring or even the next moment. We’re so utterly present and untamed.
Your hands make me high. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough that we’re as strong as rocks? You know why, dolly? Because we have a few tricks up our sleeves and turned some sharp corners together and we’re in Paris and ain’t life grand? And yes, I’m borrowing from Frank O’Hara, but in a world where you are possible, my love, nothing can go wrong for us. I have trusted that and I have trusted you since, oh, around April 13, 2015.
There is nothing like a cool weekend morning, sun on your face, the smell of people’s hard work and passion going into what they have to offer. That’s Meraki. That’s why I need you to point out these things so I don’t forget or take anything for granted.
After you wear my shirts, I try to keep them from you so you don’t bring them to the laundry and they lose your smell. -PK
When I wear your shirts, I try to keep them on for days. See how many times we can make love in the same clothes, smelling of each other, realizing what it does to us to love another so deeply. Love only that one other so deeply.
I’m always telling you something. It’s the Ricard and water, the rain. It’s my hair loosened, smelling of ginger and hash. It’s the magic in the kitchen of you cooking and looking at me like you do.
You know why, dolly? Because we have a few tricks up our sleeves and turned some sharp corners together and we’re in Paris and ain’t life grand? -KB
Realizing what it does to us to love another so deeply is what this conversation has always been about―to love only that one other so deeply, that’s where this journey has led. Realizing that this is what you’re telling me―that you love me as I love you, that you love me more than the bad days, more than the struggle, more than any distance between us, more than any obstacle―that’s the dream and the you I have waited for my whole life. -PK