he started out his day as usual running along the quai. he used his morning run to collect his thoughts, plan his day. he often allowed the city to distract him and always smiled inside when he spotted the eiffel tower. today he ran to parc citroen and back alongside the left bank. he returned from his run satisfied yet hungry. while he showered, ate a still-warm pain-au-choclat, and drank his espresso (from his host's state-of-the-art espresso maker), he listened to the morning news. he had visited often enough to be able to decipher main themes and ideas when listening to french. his own accent and vocabulary needed work but he could manage a conversation. being in paris provided the best practice, as natives spoke and listened so quickly.
he decided to take the bus to le marais for a visit to musee picasso. while riding he observed the sights of the city and the people nearest him. he always noticed the bus driver and liked to imagine his daily life. the thing he noticed most was that they were all so different. his thoughts wandered to what he would see at the museum. he liked his early work best, always feeling a connection somehow to his pieces from the blue period. he once figured he related this to the part of himself he rarely revealed. not because others couldn't understand him, but because they probably wouldn't take the time to do so, and even the thought of this hurt him and caused him to release the idea of showing himself. he'd been like this since il etait petit, playing alone most of the time.
the third floor intrigued nick despite its correlation with modern pornography. it always prompted him to wander why great minds always turn to sex, drugs, self-destruction in the end. was it emptiness, perhaps, or unfulfillment, despite a tap into celestial secrets? he looked intently and pondered these ideas but didn't find the answer today. he had only come here to find calm, not enlightenment. even upon his entrance to the courtyard calmness had reached out and stroked him. after leaving he dined at a cafe on the terrace. he made sure to finish his meal with a taste of fine cheeses-- du chevres, du comte, et du camembert. not usual for the mid-day meal, but he was in a tourist area so he felt comfortable breaking the rules.
he walked home afterward with his usual confidence and a respect for those around him. he took time to notice a leaf on the ground or the look of pain behind the eyes of someone who had lost yet decided to live again. he remained oblivious, however, to the responses beautiful women naturally gave to him. he couldn't notice this because he always felt shy, unworthy, and insufficient around the opposite sex. outwardly he displayed a happiness and almost reverence for women no matter her status or appearance. his parents had taught him this yet he didn't grasp (or realize) this treasure he held. women who didn't know him found him attractive even after two glances. they always looked a second time.
that night nic met an ex-lover for dinner at san remo. he liked the italian cafe, away from the tourists, because it was cheap yet impressionable. he enjoyed a complimentary kir while he waited, and his thoughts drifted to their history. he always met maugerite each time he came to paris. their relationship remained on good terms but he knew he would have to say goodbye when he met a girl he planned to stay with. he pushed this thought out of his mind as he greeted her with kisses. she looked ridiculously sexy in a clingy black dress and he felt glad he put on a clean long-sleeved shirt and some aftershave. his face broke into a smile each time she giggled, revealing his laugh lines that had come with time and age. when he looked at her through the haze of burgundy wine, he knew that the night would end with more than the formal goodnight kisses. he smiled again, clutching her bare leg beneath the table, knowing if he died tonight he would feel satisfied with life.