Paris Changes Everything
Isabelle was feeling a little off-kilter. Perhaps it was the handsome man staring at her from across the promenade. He had been watching her since she first tried to set up her camera on the little tripod.
Then again, perhaps it was all the memories that were flooding back. This was her first visit to Paris since she was nine years old, when she had come to the city of lights with her mother. The two of them did what most typical tourists do. Her mother grew up in France, but married Isabelle’s American father, and she wanted Isabelle to know Paris. And so, they visited the Eiffel Tower—and actually climbed to the very top. They had a citron pressé at the outdoor tables at Café de Flore. They went shopping at Bon Marché, Printemps and of course, Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussman where Isabelle’s mother had bought her a pretty teal blue beret. They had afternoon tea at Ladurée and later walked all the way from the Louvre, past the voluptuous statues, and green-green lawns to the Tuileries, past the topiaries and fountains where couples sat nestled, embracing or sunbathing or sharing a bottle of wine, nestled together in the little metal chairs and enjoying the view.
And this is where Isabelle found herself at this very moment—standing in the promenade with her camera and tripod, trying to anchor the spindley legs into the sandy gravel. Here she was—at twenty-eight years old--and she found herself back in the same spot. Only now she was an exchange student in the School of Visual Arts graduate program, studying photography and having a Paris adventure with her friends, Trish and Lucy.
Isabelle watched her friends from across the fountain, weaving and dashing and clicking away, shooting as if photography was some kind of modern dance. But this was not the case for Isabelle. She wanted to find the quiet beauty of the scene, the balance or at least a way to anchor this darn tripod to the earth. Before she had left the States, her father had given her a Canon Rebel. He insisted she was ready for something more professional than her usual Canon Powershot, which was delicate and light and easy to handle. This Canon Rebel was none of those things. In fact, while she had finally stabilized the new camera onto the tripod, the legs suddenly toppled over, and just as suddenly, the handsome man who had been staring at her earlier, leaped to catch her Canon Rebel, as easily as if he had just caught a fly ball in his own backyard. He handed it to her and smiled.
“Thanks,” Isabelle said, taking the camera from him.
And he smiled back at her. “Piece of cake,” he told her and then introduced himself as Michael. “I’m in the program too,” he told her. “From RISD.”
Funny, Isabelle thought, she hadn’t noticed him during orientation. She wasn’t sure how she had missed him. He was different from most of the hipster-photo guys with their faux-nerdy eyeglasses and porkpie hats. No, this guy looked as if he had just stepped off a mountain range where he was taking Ansel Adams style shots of the wilderness.
“RISD?” Isabelle repeated, trying to buy some time, because the truth is, she was feeling a little breathless. Who would have imagined that there might be a real man hiding in plain sight among the artsy-boy crowd.
It had been a while since Isabelle felt that lovely tingly feeling and in fact, she had practically given up on love, but then looking at this man—yes, man, not boy, she realized something. And that something was this:
Paris changes everything.
..to be continued.