I was waiting for the check in a French bistro in St Maarten. When I looked up the waiter had pulled up a chair from a neighboring table and sat down next to me. I smiled slightly when he leaned over to hand me the tab and stayed there — shoulder to shoulder. He was a very good looking man with a full head of salt and pepper hair. He wore a pendant of some flavor on a piece of leather around his neck. He was tan. His English carried a heavy French accent.
And he smelled good. Very, very good.
I felt compelled to tell him so.
He returned the compliment and asked after my husband. Apparently — boldness in middle aged women is not nearly as frightening to middle aged French men as it is to their American contemporaries.
I explained — I have no husband. And in complete disbelief— he asked me what was wrong with me — that I had no husband?!? He seemed perplexed and offended on my behalf. Which made me smile slightly more. I was growing fonder and fonder of this handsome, bold, brutally honest, outrageously flirtatious man.
I told him — I only played with men these days and let them go — I had no desire to keep any of them any more.
He nodded and smiled an appreciative smile. I introduced myself and discovered his name was Pasquale. As I stood to leave — he rewarded me with a warm hug. A full body embrace that left his scent on my clothes for the rest of the day.
And just like that — St Maarten became etched in my memory as more than just a beautiful beach in a tropical paradise.
It became THE place where a handsome man who smelled as good as he looked did not flinch at boldness or honesty. THE place where I met someone who openly admired purple hair and flirted without shame. THE place where a short exchange gave such pleasure. A truly distinctive souvenir from an extraordinary moment.
An unexpected gift from The Universe to remind me that sensuality does not belong just to the young.