I was happily married.
My husband and I had met in the South of France. I had arrived there looking to improve my French in order to get into a high performance European college program in Linguistics, Economics and Law. After spending one night alone at a hotel and the next day looking for a flat I was about to give up and call home saying that I would be flying back the following day, but destiny took me to Madame Renaud’s home, our landlady, whose age and French elegance I can still remember. She was a rich widow renting her properties to international students that came from all over the world to Aix-en-Provence, the home land of Paul Cezanne. Who would not fall in love in such lovely surroundings?
The minute she took her key out of her pocket I knew that this was going to be a fairy tale. It was the type of key that can open the door of a castle, except that in this case, Madame Renaud said, it was no castle but a servants’ old home and perhaps at some point in time, a prison during the French Revolution. In any case, behind the door and up the stairs was my Prince Charming.
Our story was so magical that it even seemed unreal. He was virtually perfect; attentive, handsome, sophisticated, a wine and food lover, he cooked amazing dishes and had great taste for virtually everything, even the florist loved him. He was so perfect that I even though for a moment that he could be gay, but I knew for a fact that he liked women, he liked me, he had a girlfriend at the time back in the States so it could not be. I remember one day two years after we had met in Aix, he decided to surprise me and came to France (I was back in Aix after being admitted in the program) to propose with a diamond ring, he had convinced the cleaning lady at the dorms to open the door to him so when I came back from class I had the roses and my boyfriend inside my room. We were so young that he had to ask his father for a loan. I remember the day he built our first bed with his own hands, and the second and a third as we changed apartments and my tasted evolved. I remember the day that he surprised me at work on a Friday night with some Chinese food and inside the white plastic bag I found some diamond earrings. He did my grandmothers front yard, he would take the kids to the river in the summertime while we were spending some days at my dad’s village. He was just nice, nice to everyone.
He was so damn perfect that I left him for a crocodile.