It had been a brilliant 3 days, full of love, laughter and really filthy sex. I was so very happy that we had this time to spend together. But the time was growing short and soon we would both be on our way back to our respective countries and LDR. We hadn’t really seen much of the city, our attention had naturally been on all those things that we had talked about, chatted about, shared porn videos about and had phone sex about. So seeing the sites was very low on our list of priorities. But we did have to come up for air go out for food and drink sometimes. And it was on one of those excursions that we had found a strange little shop tucked in between an ATM machine and a small local grocers. If it hadn’t been that the shop keeper had stepped out for a moment and that we had to wait for his return to get the milk we needed for coffee we might have never walked inside and never found our treasure.
We entered the shop which was filled to the brim with the dusty detritus of ages gone by. Items piled haphazardly on top of each other with no rhyme or reason and seemingly defying the laws of gravity and physics. It seemed that many of the items could not possibly be removed without sending every piece of delicately balance junk crashing to the floor and burying us alive.
The shop was also filled with silence, you know the kind of silence I mean. The kind you find in old large libraries with grumpy librarians who you know could kill you with a glance if you should so much as whisper. Or an empty church that even when filled with the voices of the priest and parishioners you just knew that 20 minutes after the mass had ended and the last of the candles extinguished that a deafening silence engulfed the room. This shop had that in spades.
We poked around, very careful not to disturb the delicate ecosystem that looked like it had grown and not been built by human hands when we were startled by a voice coming from behind the archeological mounds of abandoned artifacts. “Welcome to my shop!” The voice exclaimed in English with the kind of French accent that makes you think of Gerard Depardieu. “How may I please you today?” His voice boomed as if he were a giant and the motes of dust that floated in the air danced in the early morning sunlight that struggled through the dingy windows. The sounds of metal and glass shifting helped us chart his progress from the back of the seemingly endless piles as he made his way towards us. Suddenly, his voice was behind us. “Can I offer you two lovely people some coffee?” We turned, startled to find a tray on the counter that we had somehow missed with a sliver coffee pot and 3 completely random and mismatched cups. Behind the counter beaming at us was a tiny man with a long beard, a beret on his head at a jaunty angle and a unfiltered cigarette in his mouth. Without waiting for our reply he began to pour coffee into the cups and added milk to each cup and sweetener to mine. “Drink, drink!” He insisted and his presence and bonhomie, simply swept away all resistance to his suggestions. So we drank our coffee and nibbled on croissants and before we knew was happening we had told him everything about our lives and our brief visit to Paris.
As we told this strange and odd little man things about ourselves that we had never told anyone else his smile widened and his eyes sparkled with delight. “I think” he said as the last of the coffee was consumed, “that I have just the thing for two lovers such as you” and he reached under the counter to pull out a tiny little battered music box and handed it to us like it was a Faberge egg. “This is my gift to you, for I can think of no one who would find more joy in it.” With that he dropped his cigarette into his cup and made a shooing motion at us saying. “Now go, I have taken enough of your time and you have much better things to do than talk with an old foolish man. But do me this one favor. As you time in Paris comes to an end and you are about to go your separate way, take out this music box and turn the handle and when the music stops wish for your heart’s desire. It would me very happy to know that you have done this for me.” With that he bid us good bye and clattered of with his tray and pot and empty cups.
We had been so entranced by his conversation and questions that it seemed like we had spend most of the day in his shop so we hurried outside to get out milk and return to our room. But when we got outside it seemed like no time at all had passed and the grocer next door was just returning. We bought our milk and headed back for our final day and night of kink, perversions and love. The music box and the curious shop and the little man that served us coffee faded away and we lost ourselves in each other.
But finally it was time to go and we made our way to the train station with that bittersweet feeling that you only get when you are going to be parted from the one you love and know that it will be a long time until your next reunion. We stood just outside in the same spot we met when we arrive in Paris to hold and kiss each other one last time and tried desperately to hide our tears when she found the music box in my jacket pocket. We looked at each other and smiled remembering his last instructions to us. We opened the lid to find a tiny crank that fit in a slot on the side and as I held the box as she turned the handle. The sound was quiet at first and the song hard to place but as the crank was turn the music became louder and we smiled to realize that it was “You are my sunshine” as the song chimed to its finish we both closed our eyes and made our wish. The was a flash that was so bright that it was like looking at the sun on a bright summers day and the world around us went silent and the music box began to play backwards. When it had finished we opened our eyes to hear PA announce a train arrival, the very train she had traveled on to get to Paris. We looked at our phones astonished to see that the date wasn’t the day of our departure, but the day of our arrival! We grabbed each others hand and rushed back to our hotel to find the desk clerk ready with our room key.
That funny little man had somehow given us what we both desired the most, more time. More time to love, more time to talk, more time to fuck. More time to be what we were meant to be. Together
We have lived those three days over and over again. We call it the loop. Perhaps someday we will grow tired of Paris, tired of each other and then we will stand at the train station and not play the music box and make our wish.
But I don’t think we ever will.