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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: Stop and Smell the Cafe au Lait
By Glynis Becker
01/30/11


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“If we hurry we can see two cathedrals and the Louvre before lunch, but you're going to have to pick 'em up and set 'em down, Matt.” I tried to keep the edge out of my voice, but he was not moving fast enough. I'd brought most comfortable shoes for this trip. Haute couture they were not, but in order to see all of Paris, I was willing to risk my fashion reputation. He needed to be willing to help me out.

“Would you put the book away, please, and look around you?” I could hear that sound in his voice. The one that says I know I've been married to you for over a decade and I can't believe that I still don't understand you sometimes, even just a little bit.

“But how will we know how to best use our time, if we don't use the travel guide? People who have spent a lot more time here have some great ideas on all the things we can do. I don't want to miss out on anything.” What part of this was he not getting? We were here for such a short time and I wanted to see it all!

“Diana, aren't you afraid you'll miss out on everything by not looking? We only have one day in Paris, and I can't guarantee that we'll ever get back here. Let's just explore and see what we see!” My husband—the Free Spirit—has one motto: live today and live it with gusto. I, the Nerd, on the other hand, have a motto, too: Achieve life's gusto with a measured efficiency. It's a wonder sometimes that we'd lasted this long.

I admit to pouting a little at this point. “But I've always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and Sacre-Coeur at Montmartre, and the Louvre, and to walk the Champs-Elysee and I want to sit with a cup of steaming coffee and watch a sidewalk artist and we have to see Notre Dame, too, but I don't think we can do all of this without consulting the book!”

He reached out, took my hands in his and without a word, closed the book.

A deep breath later and he finally spoke. When he did, his voice was soft. “Baby, do you think the book is going to magically slow down time? Because that's the only way we'll get through that whole list of yours. We have one day. Twenty-four hours. I do not want to spend all of them checking things off of your vacation spreadsheet without spending a moment enjoying them.”

He spreads his arms. “Look around you. We're in Paris. The most romantic city in the world. So what if we don't get to take the whole tour of the Eiffel Tower? Let's just walk in it's shadow. If we don't see every cathedral and museum that you've dreamed of, so what? What's wrong with a different plan? I, for one, want to eat something delicious, then buy you that French cup of coffee you've always dreamed of. I want to walk with you down a Parisian sidewalk and hold your hand and enjoy this moment while the sun is shining. And while we are here.”

I looked up sheepishly, knowing he was right. Hopefully someday we'd be back and could spend more time doing all the things I'd like to do. But only God knows what our future holds. So for today, I vowed to enjoy myself. “Okay. The book goes in my backpack.” I took an exaggerated breath, closed my eyes and exhaled. “Lead on, honey. I'm all yours.”

He leaned down and landed a gentle kiss. “I don't understand you. But I do love you.”

A kiss on a sidewalk in Paris? I smiled to myself. Item number four – check!


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This article has been read 362 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/03/11
I'm so sure many people can totally relate to yous MC. I stopped videotaping every second of my kids' life because I found I was missing out on too much. This was a fun read with a very powerful message.
Danielle King 02/05/11
I really enjoyed reading this well written piece. It kept my interest all the way through. I've been Diana three times now and still haven't seen everything on my list. I loved the ending too, but perhaps that's wishful thinking in my case! Well done.
Colin Swann02/05/11
I like your writing - best I've read so far. Super story.
Laury Hubrich 02/05/11
Cute story:)
Virgil Youngblood 02/07/11
Does this ever sound familiar! A fun read for sure.
Loren T. Lowery02/07/11
I could see all of this taking place just as you described. The message so important - stop to savor the moment. Let each one be...life never get any better than this. As a side note, your MC checking off number 4...perfect in keeping in character. Charming.
Noel Mitaxa 02/07/11
You reminded me of two movies: "If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium," with Suzanne Pleshette; and "Forget Paris," withn Billy Crystal and Debra Winger. You've profiled your characters and built the story through the conflict and the "aawww" ending. Very well done.
Lollie Hofer 02/07/11
What a great story with fun characters, believable dialogue and a sweet ending.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/08/11
Great job with taking your reader to Paris. Great characterization through dialogue. I enjoyed this very much.
Rachel Phelps02/09/11
Your characters are so sweet and relatable. Love it - and that last line is pure gold. Well done.
Carol Penhorwood 02/23/11
Beautifully written and a zinger of a last line! Congratulations on this well deserving piece.