Jumat, 16 Maret 2012

ONLY A FEW REGRETS by Peter Nolan Smith

“Regrets I have a few, but not too few to mention.” Frank Sinatra sang in MY WAY. I only regret about the things that I have not done for I can live with those I have done; the good, the bad, and the in-between, however other people are not so self-forgiving.In August of 2010 I ran into female friend from the 80s at a restaurant in the Meat Packing District. "Where have you been all these years?" Cece waved for me to join her table and told her young friends. "This man was the doorman at all the great clubs in Paris."They repressed a yawn. The young hate hearing about the good times of the past. For them the present was my future and I had no part in it. "I've been living in Thailand the last ten years." It might have been more, but ten was a nice round number.'Thailand," Cece cooed with benign interest. "How cool."Back in our Paris she had graced the front of French fashion magazine. The blonde's face and body had adorned bus kiosks throughout Europe. Men fought for her attention with fists and money. Few won the prize. Breaking into that scrum was hard work and I resigned our relationship to mere friendship.It had been very frustrating, because Cece was beauty incarnate.One evening at the Bains-Douches our paths met and joined thanks to two bottles of champagne from an unknown admirer. She curled her body around mine like a snake seeking warmth from a sunny rock. I buried my face in her neck. She was wearing Chanel # 5. This affection had all been a show for the man buying champagne. He came to the table and introduced himself. I recognized him as a famous film producer. Cece jumped out of my arms and left the club without a parting glance. She hadn't changed much in the years."I have a family there." I recited the trajectory of my life since France in less than a hundred words."I've been traveling too." Cece was still in fashion. She made clothes for children. Her factories were in India and Africa. She was still beautiful in the way that beautiful women are when they refuse to surrender beauty to age.We had a few wines and then a drink. I was feeling a little more of the wine than the drink. Her friends continued to a nightclub. “You want a night cap at my hotel?” Her hand touched my arm.“I have to go to work tomorrow.” I was surprised by the offer."Work can wait, can't it?" Her voice was soft as a summer breeze to my ears.It was almost midnight and the trains to Brooklyn were shit after the witching hour.“You could always sleep over.” Her touch became a caress.I had wanted this woman so badly twenty years ago, that I would have set myself on fire to get her attention. Now I could only say, “Not really.”“Not really.” Her face adopted hard lines. No one had told her no in a long time. “You know I was talking about you and several of my friends. We asked why none of us slept with you.”“And what the answer?” I could see Cece at a table in Paris. With her friends from modeling. All these great beauties reviewing their love affairs. I had been with none of them“We always thought you were with one of us.”“Oh.” It was too late to relive the past and I pulled away my arm.“Guess it is getting late.”“I guess so.” I escorted her to the hotel.Cece was gracious enough to not repeat her request and I kissed her on the cheek, smelling the same Chanel # 5 that I had breathed 20 years before. Its effect was wasted on me and she kissed my cheeks."I'll see you some day.""You never know where." I walked over to the C train on 14th street.There was no looking back and I will always have regrets, but only for the past and not the present and I’ll avoid those to prevent getting run down by those naked fantasies. They are too many to count on any man’s fingers.

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