One time I went to Paris* and met a guy named Patrick.**
Patrick insisted that we go to this one restaurant for this one dish. Magret de Canard.***
Like if you ordered a steak, but it was duck instead.
I could still find that place in The Marais. The magret was tremendously good, and it was an enchanted evening. Just drunk enough, candlelight, this kid from Toulouse.
The next morning, in my hotel room, Patrick took a bath. There was no shower. I took a photo of him in the tub (chaste, of course). Belmondo.****
He had to go home, I went back to Amsterdam and then New York, but we wrote each other. In French. He spoke zero English. And while I speak decent French, I am not a good reader or writer of it. On Jane Street, I'd get these letters on international mail paper,***** and pull out my dictionary and respond. A lot about his entretien. A lot about missing me (after a 24-hour fling). I missed him too.****** J'ai besoin de toi.
So Patrick came to New York on vacation. No. He came to see me. I can't even imagine how he got the money together. I suck. But I greeted him at the airport and then with a bottle of Champagne and a ride to Staten Island on the ferry, because I'm just that kind of guy.******* Then dinner at the late, lamented Savoy in SoHo, or NoLiTa, you pick.
It was a terrific night, although we were really too drunk to eat.
Patrick stayed with me for a week, and I had to take a business trip to Chicago, so bought him a ticket to tag along. This is unimaginable now, but I told my client he'd be coming with me, at no cost to them, and they were fine. We served Remy Martin sidecars together, and there is an amazing picture of that.
We did not fall in love. Well, I didn't. He was a kid. I seriously do not know who I was then.
In New York, prior to this, Patrick came to my office in jean shorts, and although that was normal empirically, I was very embarrassed. Keep in mind, this was a handsome handsome masculine guy, but too young, wide-eyed, and never been to the city. I have some finesse, so wasn't rude or anything: just aware that the people who worked for me were like what?! Maybe we don't have to respect you so much anymore? Maybe we have leverage?
Anyway, Patrick called me at the office from my apartment, because land lines. And he wanted to make me magret for dinner. I have no idea where he even found it. But he needed pans. I had maybe two. We had an incredibly long conversation in French about pans, found no understanding, and I went Bed, Bath and Beyond (my nemesis) and bought everything.
He made me a lovely dinner. As good as Paris. He was a truly beautiful guy. If we'd had less a distance in age, and if my French had been better, who knows?
Some years earlier, my friend Anne from Georgetown came to stay. It's all baffling, but Anne and I sat in my SoHo studio -- terrible place -- and watched a made-for-TV movie starring Melissa Gilbert.******* And out of nowhere, in the heat of an argument, Melissa said "canard." Anne and I immediately burst out laughing. Anne had a great girly-haughty laugh. I don't know why, but I still can't think of "canard" without laughing.
I miss Anne, and I miss Patrick.
Canard is an accepted truth that is in fact untrue.********
Ring any bells?
*It was accidentally for Europride: truly, I didn't know. It was really fun.
**I am only allowed to meet people named Pionshatrick or Mark.
***I am not Googling any of this. There may be factual errors. Untruths.
****I have pictures of him, on FILM.
*****Do you remember how exciting this was?
******We were at least ten years apart in age, maybe more, but there is precedent for that in my family.
*******I've lost control of the asterisks.
*********I was very handsome at the time. The point of being good looking is to attract people, but it all goes haywire.