[I spy, you spy] A Spy on the Terrace

2:30 in the afternoon, Chatillon-sur-Seine.  I sit with my back to the dining room table,  coffee in one hand and petit bouquin in the other.  Light pours in through the open French doors.  I scoot my chair a little closer to the balcony, resting my feet just outside the door.  Caddy-corner to the apartment, diners at the Bistrot du Potier see only my legs on the balcony today…I’m not sure whether this is a relief or a disappointment to them.

Ever since I arrived I have been drawing attention from this vantage point. I am the crazy American girl who soaks up the rays indiscreetly while talking on the phone — Mon Dieu! In English! and can be seen, equally indiscreetly, taking pictures of the sunset from the other side of the terrace…or sometimes even heard, when after a long run Dr. Dre accompanies my crunches.

Le Bistrot du Petit Potier, from the balcony

Or maybe I flatter myself.  Does anyone at the Potier even notice that I am here, with half of my body on one side of the door jambs and the rest outside, en plein air?  A scruffy man in an army green military cap crosses his tattooed arms outside the door of the bar.  I’ve seen him there before, exchanging a few words with the proprietaire while on his break from work, I suppose.  A black-haired woman in her fifties (I guess) brings him a Fisher Doreleï from Alsace, the bar’s premium beer on tap. Probably the owner’s wife, she too has been around every time I’ve sat outside this door.

Yes, I am the one who knows their faces, and not the other way around.  Will you forgive a Kentucky girl’s egocentric thirst to see…and be seen?  This is the first time I’ve ever lived (temporarily) in an apartment with a wrap-around balcony that reaches toward the very center of a little town’s life.  This is the first time I have had the opportunity to open these French doors and be seen — in all my eccentricity.

There I go again.

I open my book and squint as my sun-filled eyes adjust to the words on the page. My legs are hot now, even beginning to shimmer in the Indian summer’s heat.  Three pages later — in the middle of  “Louis” and “Madame la bienfaitrice’s”  reunion after nine years’ separation — I hear an “au revoir” and “bon apres-midi” from the Potier. The scruffy man crosses the street, without even glancing my way.

On the other side of the apartment: another picture taken out the window. L'Eglise St. Vorles


Filed under Chatillon-sur-Seine, Cool Characters, Laugh it off

4 responses to “[I spy, you spy] A Spy on the Terrace

  1. Hey, What a wonderfully written story and a great story at that! 🙂 Is this the whole story or is there more?? I’m kinda wanting more please!

    -Rockin Rita-

  2. thesocratesofsnails

    People-watching in Paris sounds very romantic. It makes me think of Hemingway.

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