Cole in Love—Klaudia Keller
Cole in Love
Cole had never experienced a moment of self doubt or an instant of compassion. How ridiculous then
to find himself in love. Cole Pierce was very accomplished man. He had been the shining star from
grade school spelling bees, to debate team, breaking records in track and field in high school and in
his professional field of cultural anthropology, had become quite acclaimed. He now traveled around
the world being called upon to speak at colleges and universities. Cole was dashingly handsome, a
pretty boy, a first class flyer, dressed in loafers and khakis and black mock turtlenecks. He was rarely
seen with a woman on his arm, they had always been such a distraction, he had never been on the
verge of marriage or any entanglement that would be construed as anything close to commitment.
He had had various relationships but always at an arm’s length several women in his professional
circle Carole in London, Lisa in Burma, Molly in Indiana, an woman in India who taught him
meditation and yoga, each of the entanglements more austere than the last.
Cole had built quite a reputation for himself, he seemed to have armor on always an elite, important
man that had no time for the tawdry details of relationshipping with any one. Cole called America
home but his loft apartment in DC was only a landing place, to then soon shuffle off to another
corner of the world.
Cole was to speak in Paris at a very esteemed meeting of his colleges and decided to spend a couple of
weeks prior in an apartment of a friend off the Seine. He liked to walk the streets, late at night,
something he never did anywhere but Paris. He would get lost in the sheer fascination of this great
city, from one side of the river to another, finding restaurants that were open late, having a white
bordeaux with his supper and an espresso after to find his way back to the flat. He loved Paris the
anonymity of the big city and his small place in it.
Cole awoke at about four in the afternoon and after getting about the flat was off to explore and
find a light dinner and then get lost in the rues. He ducked into a creperie and when he first saw Anne
Marie he was taken by the way she was speaking on the phone. She was speaking French, which he
only understood about every fifth word, but the way her mouth curled around the words she was saying
was what he couldn’t keep his eyes off. It was if her lips could contort in to a square, he was
enthralled. He seated himself in sight of her by the shuttered windows in the front of the restaurant and
observed her slightness and light demeanor. He thought to himself, beautiful, she is truly beautiful.
Cole had had friends met their mates and that had told him “they knew from the first time our eyes
met”, “that they dated in high school, and met years later to just pick up where they left off”.
She was dressed in black a short skirt and stockings with a mock turtleneck sweater. Her shoes were
black leather moccasins with a big silver button as the closure. He was enthralled with which the way
her mouth was forming her words and began to think of her in an intimate way.
All of this was very new for Cole, woman had always approached him, he never was the pursuer.
She had hung up the phone and came to his table to immediately sit down and they ended up in the
most interesting conversation about parrakeets. Anne Marie had three of the birds, one green, blue and
yellow. He was transfixed as she told Cole about their daily constitutions, eating habits, how she let
them loose in her flat, landing on her head and at the top of the drapery that hung on her front windows.
He was smitten, he couldn’t keep her eyes off of her lower lip, it was sensitive and expressive, he had to
remind himself to listen to the words as they fell out of her mouth, but he began to think he could be
with this woman forever. He had never felt this way before.
Before long they had told each other their life stories, she had no siblings and with her parents gone
she was free as a bird after the operation. He didn’t ask about or if there was illness he couldn’t tell.
She had waited for this “elective” surgery for years, and now just a week away she was feeling what
she called a ‘calm freedom’. He invited her to America and to his surprise Anne Marie accepted, so the
feelings he was having were mutual. For the next three days, they plotted their lives together, traveling
they picturing themselves on secluded beaches, shopping for furniture in Italy, going to book lectures in
New York. He bought her a plane ticket to D.C. in just two weeks which was after the operation
and off to their new lives together. She accepted the ticket and found a sum of money in the envelope
so that she could close up shop, so to speak.
They were to meet in D.C. at the beginning of May, the cherry blossoms would be in bloom, the first
adventure would be to bareboat charter to the Caribbean in hopes of finding that secluded beach.
Cole spruced up his living quarters to accept a woman into this masculine loft. He was to meet Anne
Marie at the airport and the anticipation was thick in his head, the air, he had never been so elated.
Cole arrived early and had a scotch rocks across from the gate where she was to disembark, he
thinking of the way she spoke, her mouth curled and contorted into a perfect square.
He watched as the passengers came sleepily off the plane, one by one, he searched the group and then
the flight crew and attendants all exiting and then gone.
No Anne Marie.
He had another scotch, was flabbergasted, no phone call, no explanation, he had made the plane
reservation, was sure he had the right day and time. Was this the payback for his caviler ways
of not really managing his life ever? He slowly walked down the corridor, deflated, disheveled, out of
sorts wishing he hadn’t ever walked into that creperie that night.
Then he saw her she was standing at the taxi stand with her back to him, she had on the black
moccasins, her hair up under her tam and as she turned her new self to him, he could see she had had
surgery on her face, the puffy redness still so apparent, he mouth was different, really different, he was