The love of my life
French men are supposed to be charming and flattering.
And they are.
That first night, Jacques approached us, took his chair, sat with us and asked what we wanted to drink. He offered us a bottle of wine and started chatting with me, only with me.
I was absolutely and totally swept away, how on Earth this hot thing could be interested in me?
Because I was the only one who could speak French! That was my answer to that question, that night.
Jacques sat next to me and asked me lots of silly questions, it appeared he really wanted to know about me.
That whole night I was convinced the only reason he was speaking an addressing himself to me was that I could speak his language.
We spent the whole evening until late chatting at the piano bar. We walked outside to enjoy the breeze and the hot Moroccan summer night. He was charming, attentive, polite, almost shy. I could not believe that hot thing could have all of those qualities.
There must have been a trick, somewhere.
The following three days were spent at the pool, sunbathing, swimming and enjoying the beauty of the Hotel.
He never did an inappropriate gesture, never said an inappropriate word, he was perfect.
Italian men would have been much more “aggressive” and less reserved with a young girl as I was at the time, so the third day I was kind of disappointed.
I figured out that he had a girlfriend in France or he was just not interested in me as a woman.
I was discouraged, disappointed and saddened, but it was not too bad. I was used.
My heart has shut to any feelings and emotions several years before, hence I was not surprised he was not interested in me.
I was becoming used to be an independent woman, career orientated, basically I had convinced myself that I did not need any men or relationship in my life.
The third day, after lunch at the pool, he mentioned he was going to the souk, he invited me to go with him so in the fraction of a second I thought that he was definitely interested in me.
I was so silly that I figured out a different scenario in three seconds. I figured out he was desperately in love with me and wanted to tell me plenty of sweet things that afternoon.
Too many dangerous reads for my heart, too much of “Jane Eyre”, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Wuthering heights” in my mind and my heart.
I was dangerous to myself, always creating romantic developments in my mind when nothing existed.
Nevertheless, I agreed to meet him at 3 pm at the Hotel entrance.
I went up in my room, had a shower and did my hair, put a nice dress on and, while I was approaching the Hotel entrance, I remember I did so many stairs – I still hate elevators – without even knowing I was walking.
I was living on another planet.
I was so excited.
He wanted to spend time with me, alone.
I arrived at the Hotel entrance and saw him immediately.
Handsome, charming, so tanned, as I love men, his green eyes were absolutely beautiful.
He was really a hot thing!
I hadn’t seen at first he was not alone, but after a couple of minutes, he introduced me to his friend Christophe he was sharing his holiday with.
All of the sudden, I started becoming quiet, sad and realized that my romantic reads were books, not real life.
Of course, he was not interested in me. He was being kind with me, only that.
We went to the souk and had a lovely afternoon, we bought a typical Moroccan dress and I showed off in a typical Italian art: the art of discussing prices and lowering them as much as possible. I was told in northern Africa they expect tourists to discuss about the price, like we do in Italy!
Once we got back to the hotel, I thanked him very much for the pleasant afternoon and thanked Christophe too.
The night before he sang at the piano bar for us all. He had an amazing voice, that type of French chansonnier and had also a huge repertoire of classical French songs. He was a nice guy and I understood they were good friends.
Not only Jacques was so attractive and sweet, but very intelligent.
One evening we spent hours talking about one million different subjects and he was so interesting to talk to.
While in the room, I put more comfortable clothes on and I was staring at the ceiling when someone knocked at the door.
I wondered who could have been. Without opening, in French, because I was speaking French to anyone at the Hotel, I asked who it was.
“It’s me, Jacques”
What? Who? Why? Lots of questions in my mind for less than a second when I opened the door and he smiled at me, asking whether he could come in a for a second.
Being an interpreter, I was used to being asked to translate anywhere I was.
Also that afternoon, immediately, I told myself surely he needed some translation, so I asked him ”Can I help you ?” “Can I translate anything for you?”.
I was so silly that I did not realize that we were in Morocco where everyone spoke French and he was French. How silly of me!
He smiled and said that he wanted to ask me something.
I got nervous.
I had no clue.
What did he want to know from me?
He said, and when we was speaking, I remember like if it was a couple of years ago , not 31 years ago, he was a little embarrassed . I told him to sit, I sat at the end of my large bed, and he sat at the opposite side, in his bathing suit, with his wallet in his hands.
Thinking back to that image now, I can’t not smile.
He was so delicately embarrassed, he did not know how to start.
I think I put him at ease because I was not afraid of anything.
I had no idea of what he could have said or asked.
He was not looking at me, I think he wanted to find more strength, more courage in himself so he was not looking into my eyes.
He said that he was falling in love with me, but he knew I was not free so he asked me if my relationship was really serious and if there was any hope for him before he would go further.
I was astonished. I could not understand a word of what he was saying.
I was free. More than free.
Basically, I was waiting for him. I had been awaiting for him for 26 years!
I explained him I was not following him, what did he mean?
It turned out that the first evening, when we met, we were talking about a day, a specific day of the two weeks we were spending in that Hotel and we wanted to know which day of the week that date would have been.
If it happened now, I would have checked my phone, the calendar on my phone.
At that time, my friend Ivana’s son was about three or four years old and she offered me a little calendar with her son’s photo to keep in my wallet. That was a lovely habit we had at the time and I treasured that little calendar offered each year at Christmas.
He saw that first night, this cute blond boy and asked me who he was.
I answered he was “le fils de mon amie” which means “my girlfriend’s son”.
In French orally there is no distinction from “le fils de mon ami” which means “my partner’s son” so instead of thinking it was my girlfriend son, he understood Alessandro, this young boy, was my partner son, we were not married , and he was not my son.
Almost like “Pride and Prejudice”, oh my goodness, what a relief!
It was just a misunderstanding.
So I explained everything but did not really care about details, I only stressed that I had no man in my life and I was already in love with him.
I think he was even happier than I was, we were both, I feel, very happy to know how much we liked each other.
I remember, and this is typical of me, I wanted to rationalize everything, I told him I was falling in love with him but not to think big.
I did not know him well and I would not allow anyone to break my heart again.
He was smart, intelligent and adorable, he was sweet and gentle with me, did not ask for anything nor pushed me to do anything which is what works with me.
Don’t ask and I will give you. Ask and you will receive nothing - this is me.
We spent the rest of the holidays deeply and madly in love.
We were not interested in anything else, we were concentrated in getting to know each other and I must say when we left, two weeks later, I knew almost everything of him.
He was not only the hottest thing I had ever met, he was compassionate, sweet, adorable, extremely polite.
And intelligent, I would have never liked a sexy, stupid thing.
Not for me.
We spoke about our jobs but I must recognize that I did not understand fully what he was doing. Instead of realizing he was in the French Special Forces as an Officer, I thought to understand he was in the police.
But I was not interested in his job at all.
I was interested in him.
Body and soul, and I was like Mr Darcy with Elizabeth, when he tells her:
“you have bewitched me , body and soul”.
He did that to me.
Like Mr Darcy.
When he left to France and I left to Italy, after two unforgettable weeks, I realized it was only a summer love story.
I was back into my parents’ home, he would have been back to his apartment in Valence, on the Rhone River.
How and when could have we seen each other?
I had an hectic life and he said he travelled extensively for his job.
When I met him in Morocco, he was coming from a stay of 6 months in Central Africa.
There was no chance to see him again, probably not even to hear from him.
I arrived home in the evening and went straight to my girlfriend Ivana with a picture of Jacques I had developed in Morocco and glued to a nice frame to show her.
I knocked at her apartment and she did not see me or my face, just the frame and she started screaming “oh my God, who is this hunk?” .
Yes, this is Ivana, and , when she saw my face, she said he was really hot and I had been very lucky but it would not have been easy or likely to hear from him.
She did not want to discourage me, I think. She was married with a son so I think she was just being honest.
She wanted me to realize it was a sexy thing I met during an exotic holiday and that was it.
Ivana was not discouraging me, she was being realistic.
I came home that night with my frame which looked more of a religious simulacrum that I was holding hoping not to lose him.
I was wrong.
I was definitely very wrong!
The following day, which was a Monday, someone rung at the door at my parents’ and when I opened, I saw the most beautiful red roses I had ever seen.
21 red roses, Baccarat roses, smelling sweetness, love and excitement.
The card had the date and a simple message: “ Je t’aime, Jacques “ .
I was hooked.
This guy would have been my guy.