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'The Rendezvous' An Original Short Story

Discussion in 'Creative Arts' started by MalibuGuy, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. MalibuGuy

    MalibuGuy F1 Rookie

    Sep 18, 2007
    4,678
    Malibu, CA
    The Rendezvous

    by​

    Malibuguy​




    It was so cold that night that the key to the Ferrari didn’t work. He tried to examine the key and door lock more closely but couldn’t see in the darkness. The mechanism was probably frozen solid as a block of ice, or so he thought. It was a bitter cold night and his Ferrari had been sitting parked on the street since the early evening.​

    He leaned over and waited for his eyes to adjust. Finally, he saw that he had missed the slot for the key entirely! That’s why it didn’t go in. He tried again but the door still didn’t budge. After another try, he realized he had been turning the key the wrong way! So he twisted it the other way, and after a slow, stiff click, the door popped open.​

    Pleased with this small victory, he smiled and quickly got into the vintage Ferrari. Hoping to find some relief from the cold, he moved around on the seat searching for a warmer spot, but every inch was like ice. His breath was visible inside the car as he searched for the ignition. Craning his head around the steering wheel, he fumbled with the key, and then after a few attempts, the car groaned and the engine started up. When he tried to shift the metal gear lever into first, it wouldn’t budge. The gearbox was frozen! So he told himself, “Be patient and wait for things to warm up.” As he sat shivering, he recalled another cool reception: the first time he met her, his lover.​

    She was the most alluring woman seated at the champagne bar of the George V, the most elegant sumptuous hotel in all of Paris. When he tried to catch her eye, she, like the Ferrari, had refused him. But that night he was feeling uncharacteristically brave. Undeterred in spite of being ignored, he somehow mustered up the courage to approach her and say hello. She said nothing back to him, of course. Being a beautiful woman, he assumed that many men had ventured to get her attention before him. Finally, he thought to ask a question about her dress. She looked over at him—the sheer luminous quality of her eyes made him forget everything—and even though he could barely think about what to say next, she began to talk.​

    The V-12 engine was idling in an irregular rhythm, gasping and almost dying every few seconds. As he was being jostled by an uncharacteristic rough idle, he thought of the equally awkward way he and his love shared their first dance. He was stiff on his feet and so was she. With his nervous hand on the small of her back, he tried to guide her, but she seemed to intentionally refuse to follow his lead. That night he would settle for the simplest and slowest steps with his new partner.​

    The Ferrari V-12 had warmed –up and he reached for the gear lever. The metal gearshift smoothly slotted into gear and he began to drive. It was 3 a.m. and the streets in Paris were pitch-black and icy cold. The vibrant light from the cafés, shops, and theaters that usually spilled out onto the boulevards giving them life were all turned off. At this late hour, nothing was open, and because of the bitter cold, everyone was tucked in and fast asleep in warm beds.​

    There was a bonus to starting a road trip at this hour. Aside from having the full day to spend with his lover, there was no traffic and no police either. He could drive as fast as he wanted down the narrow streets in his neighborhood on his way to the Grands Boulevards. In Paris, the streets were always cursed, clogged with all forms of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians—one was always fighting the traffic.​

    Since his was the only car on the rue, he drove down the middle of the Grands Boulevards like a Formula 1 driver, splitting the lanes, ignoring the red lights and stop signs. He whizzed by the passages, which normally were totally obscured by their bustling crowds. Tonight—although he was traveling at a reckless speed along Boulevard Haussmann, then rue du Faubourg Poissonière, then rue Saint-Denis, then rue Saint-Martin—he was able to peer down to the very ends of these elegant regal arcades.
    Empty and eerily quiet, the city looked different at this hour and yet somehow even more beautiful.​

    Usually it would take at least thirty minutes to reach the Périphérique loop from his arrondisement. Tonight he found himself racing to the north entrance just fifteen minutes from his starting point. He made a hard left turn around the République without braking and accelerated with all four tires squealing, and then sped north until the road ahead of him dived down into a tunnel. The roar of the 12-cylinder engine echoed within the tunnel’s narrow walls and the reflection from the overhead yellow fluorescent lights streaked by his windows.​

    The Périphérique was also an unusual sight. Normally the annular freeway encircling Paris was choked with traffic at all hours. But tonight it too was empty. There was no slow traffic to fight against and he could drive entirely unimpeded. After twenty minutes, he took the exit to the A11 toward Nantes. ​

    On the A11, he finally began to encounter the first traffic of the day. As the sun rose, he was joined by small lorries and large trucks. Fortunately, they knew their place and occupied the slow right lane, leaving the fast left lane open. He pressed down on the gas pedal and, with his left blinker flashing, sailed past them.​

    As he sped along the A11, the first light of dawn began to illuminate the curve of his crimson red front fender. He thought about the curve of his lover’s hip when she was lying on her side in bed, the way her skin glowed with the changing colors of the morning light. ​

    ***​

    He dashed up the sidewalk to her town house. All the doors of these identical homes were painted black, and although he had been inside only his lover’s house, he had assumed that all the interiors of the townhomes in the development were the same.​

    His heart was beating excitedly as he approached her door. He knocked three times and then called out, “Chérie! Oooh-ooh! Chérie.”​

    He could not wait to see her; he thought of her sparkling eyes and plump lips. He wondered what she would be wearing. Perhaps the nice blue dress they bought together in a cute boutique in Saint-Germain when she came to visit him in Paris. She was sentimental and always would do things to remind him of their time together.​

    He paused before knocking on her door again, not wanting to seem rude or as if he was rushing her. But of course, he had just driven like a madman for the past three hours and now could barely contain his emotions.​

    She might be putting the final touches on her makeup. She always wore a very light foundation since she had the most remarkable flawless fair complexion. And then she would use a little rouge to highlight her naturally high cheekbones and black eyeliner to accent her gorgeous almond-shaped eyes. Finally, she would apply some strong red lipstick to her already succulent mouth.​

    No. He shouldn’t make her rush. He knew how that annoyed her.

    He waited with his hand back a few inches from the door, ready to knock once again.

    An old woman with a small blond dog on a leash stopped by the sidewalk behind him. He turned his head briefly to see what she wanted. As her dog sniffed the grass, the old woman looked at him. ​

    He turned back around and pretended to ignore the old woman. He called, “Chérie,” in a sweet voice and tapped lightly on the door again. But he continued to feel the eyes of the old woman and her dog studying him, so he glanced back at her.​

    The old woman was still there standing and looking at him. She appeared to want to say something to him. She began to take a step toward him. Not wanting to speak to her, he returned his gaze to the door, hoping that she would get the message.​

    Her dog didn’t seem to get the message, though, and began sniffing at his pant leg. He tried to ignore the dog too, but the animal persisted. The dog seemed to act like they were old friends. Annoyed, he roughly shooed the dog away with his shoe.​

    He called out again, “Sweetheart. J’arrive. I am here,” but in a soft tone, and not loud or disturbing in any way.​

    He leaned closer to the door hoping to hear her footsteps. She usually wore fancy shoes, and he knew the click-clack sound her heels made when she walked along the marble corridor leading from the upstairs bedroom to the stairs down to her front door. She almost always wore high heels, even with her morning robe. He remembered the cute way she held her hands out for help balancing when she put on her shoes, one at a time, without sitting but standing on one leg gracefully bent while the other foot skillfully flipped over her shoe in order to slip it on. He didn’t hear anything though.​

    He looked back to see if the old woman and her dog were still hovering nearby, hoping they weren’t. They had left. He assumed they were probably somewhere down the street, continuing on their promenade.​

    He felt the cool bite of the winter morning as an icy breeze hit him, cutting through his shirt and trousers. He shivered and then remembered to rub his arms and stomp his feet to get warm. He looked down and noticed that the doorstep was bare and dirty; there was only the faint outline of the missing doormat, the one that normally resided there. It seemed that even in this nice neighborhood far from Paris, thievery was alive and well.​

    “Excuse me, monsieur, but can I help you?”​

    The old woman with the little dog was standing by the sidewalk again, her dog sniffing the grass.​

    “No. Thank you. Merci,” he replied curtly.​

    “Who are you looking for?” the old woman asked as she took a few steps closer.​

    “What?” he replied with a slight tone of annoyance, not truly wanting the old lady to repeat her question.​

    “I mean who are you here to see?”​

    “Oh, I’m here to see someone I know. Thank you.”​

    “Perhaps you might tell me their name. I could help you,” the old woman said as she stepped a bit closer to him.​

    “Well, I don’t really need anyone’s help.”​

    “I just saw that you have been standing here since I walked past the first time and you are still here when I am on my way back home.”​

    “Well, thank you, Madame, for your concern.”​

    “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for many years, ever since my husband retired. We would walk our dog on this street every day. Three times a day actually. However, my husband passed away last year. Now I walk him alone. He loves the grass. He sniffs and sniffs and still can’t get enough of it.”​

    The old woman’s dog began sniffing his pant leg again. The little dog wagged his tail, again as if he knew him, and then began to jump up and put his little front paws on his trousers. He shooed the dog away with his foot.​

    “Sorry about your husband, Madame. But I’m fine. I’m quite all right.”​

    “Well, these townhomes all look alike and people get confused.”​

    “Yes, thank you. But I can manage. You see I know the owner who lives here.”​

    “The owner?”​

    “Yes. I am a close friend to the owner.”​

    “Monsieur, I am sorry but you must be mistaken.”​

    “Why?”​

    “Monsieur, there is no one living there. But perhaps you mean the house to the left. That is the Todts’ maison. They are a nice couple from Alsace. Or else next door to the right. That is the maison de Monsieur Bellise, an elderly man from Vichy.”​

    “No. That is not who I wish to see,” he said. He blew his breath into his frozen cupped hands hoping to warm them.​

    “Who then, monsieur?” asked the old lady with her head tilted to one side.​

    “Well, if you really must know, I am here to see Mademoiselle Michelle. I’ve driven all night from Paris to see her.”​

    “Mademoiselle Michelle?” The old lady began to shake her head. Apparently, she didn’t know everybody in the neighborhood after all. After a moment, she said, “Oui. I remember her now.”​

    “Yes. Mademoiselle Michelle.”​

    “The very pretty blonde. Always dressed très chic,” the old lady offered.​

    “Yes. So you do know her.”​

    Oui. But, monsieur, I am afraid that no one has been living here for quite some time. Just look at the yard. The weeds are overgrown and the flowers have all died.”​

    “What do you mean? Of course she does,” he replied confidently.​

    “I remember her. Very pretty woman. She married a doctor. She moved after she married the doctor. He was from the south. From a very wealthy family too.”​

    “No, madame. I assure you that you must be mistaken. You are thinking about a different pretty mademoiselle.”​

    “No, I remember her. She was beautiful. But she married the doctor from the south, from Avignon. She moved away after the marriage. To Avignon. His family is very wealthy and from there.”​

    He shook his head and turned his back on the old woman and her little dog. He began knocking on the door again. He called out, but loudly now. “Chérie! Chérie!” He pounded harder and more violently on the door with his open palms. The door shook from the force. Dirt from the door, which had probably been accumulating for months, began to cloud the air and rain down on him. ​

    “My love! I am here! Please come down and see me! I am here!” he cried.​

    Tears filled his eyes and began to run down his cheeks. He pounded on the door until he was exhausted and too tired to persist. He slumped down to his knees. He placed his face against her door and continued to cry out, “Chérie. Mon chérie. I am here,” again and again, but now with the voice of a lost child, the voice of defeat.​

    The old woman had arrived back at the entrance to her house when she stopped and bent down to pat her dog.​

    “Don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault. That old man is touched in the head. It’s not our fault that he doesn’t remember us. We will try to talk some sense into him again, the next time he comes. Okay? Let’s go inside now. It’s too cold to be out.”

    (THE END)​
     
    greg328 likes this.
  2. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie

    Nov 17, 2003
    4,120
    Austin, TX USA
    Full Name:
    Greg
    I thoroughly enjoyed the story but a little confused by the end. So the man was re-living a youthful memory by returning to the house of an old lover, many years later? And he’s done so repeatedly as witnessed by the old lady and her dog, who have both become accustomed to his regular sad visits?


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
    MalibuGuy likes this.
  3. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie

    Nov 17, 2003
    4,120
    Austin, TX USA
    Full Name:
    Greg
    Alternatively, perhaps the old woman is Michelle, but how could that be if she married and moved away? All in all, an intriguing story, thank you!


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
    MalibuGuy likes this.
  4. MalibuGuy

    MalibuGuy F1 Rookie

    Sep 18, 2007
    4,678
    Malibu, CA
    So glad you enjoyed it. The old woman is meant to be someone who cares about the man. That in life we find one another. No one is truly alone.

    She lost her husband, so she knows about loss. But even she has her own delusions, she talks to her dog as if he understands everything, while the old man clings to his old memories of his lover.

    The world is sometimes a cold place, and we have to find comfort and shelter
     
  5. greg328

    greg328 F1 Rookie

    Nov 17, 2003
    4,120
    Austin, TX USA
    Full Name:
    Greg
    Thank you for the info— I enjoyed the story!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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