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Our Last Time

A sweet memory.

It was just after midnight on January 1, 2008. The sound of revelers and slow moving traffic going around the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile down the Champs-Élysées drifted up to our room. Carol and I stood on the balcony of our hotel room in Paris, France watching and listening to the fireworks over the city skyline. It was our last time together as friends and lovers. In two days, we would part never to be together again.

My arm circled her waist, as I pulled her to me. She shuddered with the cool breeze blowing a bit stronger. Her hair wafted lightly on the breeze against my face. It was soft and seemed to float in the air. I touched her hair, and she moaned with an inward contentment. I kissed her neck as she leaned against me. Our twentieth anniversary together as lovers was over.

Twenty-two years earlier, we met at a recruiting session of new college hires. She graduated with a perfect score in her major of Computer Science from college. The company I worked for at the time recruited new college hires to start their careers in high tech.

That year I became the head of the college recruiters. I interviewed her, and we felt a bond. I made her an offer to work for the company in the local sales office near her home. She accepted and started working there. Shortly after she started working, she came to the company headquarters for two weeks of orientation.

We met and dated almost every night during the two weeks of class. The bond, we had, grew stronger and our desires took hold. We spent a few nights together, and that was the best time. I was married, and she was engaged, but that did not seem to matter. Our desire and the need for each other was stronger. At the end of the two weeks, we parted, but our love kept our hearts connected.

Over the years we chatted every day by email or phone. We met at technical classes and seminars. I wrote a document of 1200 pages for the engineers of the company explaining the design and function of the latest virtual operating system of the company (AOS/VS.) As part of the task, I created a week long class to explain the finer points and set lab sessions to examine the product internally. This was to allow the engineers in the field to ask questions about it. I traveled the world talking to engineers and customers.

I traveled to Paris, France three times a year. As part of that travel, I selected Carol to be my assistant. Paris became our favorite place to visit and be with each other. Our love for each other and the ability to be together was what we desired most on these trips. We made the most of the time and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city.

Our time spent together in Paris ended abruptly when the company closed, and we had to find new positions. Carol went to work for a small local consulting firm near her home. She had married and raised a family by then. I had a family of my own before we met. Our love never wavered over the years.

I moved across the United States to California which made being with Carol more difficult, but not impossible. I occasionally spent time in New England and New York, so we met a few times. The love we shared never wavered. I met her husband and family. They greeted me openly and enjoyed my visits. Carol's husband knew of our relationship and realized that it added to their marriage.

Late in 2007, Carol felt ill and went to see her doctor. After having several tests, she was diagnosed with cancer and had only a few months to live. Her husband and family were shocked by the discovery. Carol felt poorly but knew that she had to live her life fully until the end.

As part of that life, she and her husband made time for her to meet me in our favorite city, Paris. We were to spend a week together being lovers and saying our final goodbye. That was how we came to be in Paris on New Year's Eve 2008.

The week we spent together seemed too short, but it was the best time for us. Our days were filled with exploring and walking together through Paris holding hands linking arms. We visited shops and cafes. We drank coffee outside the Louvre Museum at a sidewalk cafe. We walked along the banks of the Seine watching boats traverse the river carrying freight and families.

At night, we ate in our room making sure to watch the lights of Paris twinkle on, turning night into something beautiful to inspire dreams and make love. We sat on our balcony talking and just being a couple in love not caring about the life we had to return to soon. We talked about our memories and the time spent together. Her disease and our future never surfaced making the time feel special and more meaningful. We knew in our hearts that Paris was the place where our dreams came true, and our love grew and bloomed.

On our last night in Paris, we moved all the furniture off the balcony and turned up the music on the radio. We danced and took in the sights and sounds of Paris. Our dinner was the best we had in all our trips to Paris. The concierge of the hotel knew why we were there and made us a special French meal to celebrate. At first, Carol and I felt awkward for all the attention, but as we relaxed the night became one of love and togetherness. At the end of the meal, the concierge came to our table and thanked us for being faithful visitors to his hotel and announced that our stay was free. Carol and I were shocked but accepted his gift graciously and went to our room.

As I crawled into bed beside Carol, I felt the cool, crisp sheets cover our bodies. I rolled to face Carol and sought her lips for a much-desired kiss. Our lips touched softly and my arm wrapped around her pulling her close to me. Our lips softly touched and stayed touching for a long time. I felt her love for me, and as I looked into her eyes, tears rolled down her face. I restrained myself for as long as I could but seeing her tears released my tears.

A smile broke across my face as we lay there in each other's arms. A questioning look crossed her face.

“I was thinking about how wonderful our love is. We are lucky to find each other and spent time together,” I whispered.

“We were fortunate to have families who understood our connection and allowed it to continue. I have never been so happy when I am with you. It is as if time stood still and wrapped us in love,” Carol replied.

I smiled and kissed her again and held her tightly. I did not want the night to end. We kissed for hours that night, and in the morning we packed and left France for the last time. We flew together to New York City, where we went to her home to have dinner and spend time with her family before I left for California.

I left for California the next day and went back to my family content and happy.

A week later, Carol's husband called me at work. He told me that Carol entered the hospital the night before and had passed on just before sunrise. He expressed his gratitude for having me as a friend who knew his wife well and felt the same pain and loss as he. Tears ran down my face as we talked a little and I expressed my sorrow. He thanked me, and we promised to keep in touch over time. We hung up, and the call ended the love of my life.

Carol still lives in my mind and my dreams.

 

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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