Thursday, December 16, 2004
I had been traveling throughout Louisiana for pretty much one week, non-stop. Every mile that I drove had me amazed by the beauty and even mystery of this state. I'd gone from town to town, rather than the typical big cities that most immediately associate with Louisiana. I didn't go to New Orleans, Baton Rouge or Shreveport. I went to places like Natchitoches, Grand Cane, Opelousas, Alexandria, and a place called Thibodeaux where I found beauty and mystery all rolled up into this one woman that I'd seen coming out of a small church. She wasn't really dressed up. She was dressed casual but then again, this was a Saturday when I had seen her so maybe her visit to the church wasn't really a formal gathering but more of a personal thing.
I continued to watch her. I sort of wanted to take a picture but then again, I didn't want to offend her if she happened to spot me. She just seemed so at peace. The way she stepped down the stairs, exiting the church. She had a slight smile on her face, her hair was long and her cheekbones were high. She pulled her hair to the front as she walked so that it would lay against the front part of her shoulder. That's when she spotted me. Maybe she could hear me take a deep breath, which was about as loud as the thoughts traveling through my mind... I was high off of watching her; she was so fine.
"Bonjour 'elegant homme!" The woman said.
She laughed to herself as she walked in my direction. I didn't believe she would walk all the way over to me so I stepped somewhat in her direction too. Maybe we would meet each other halfway. I wasn't really sure. The lady tossed her hair in the wind and smiled.
She said "longue voie de la maison?"
I was like "huh? I'm sorry...I dont speak..."
"I know," she said. "I'm just teasing but actually I just said, hello handsome and that you're a long ways from home."
"Oui...You've been called this before, no?"
In my mind I was twisting all my words while trying to figure out what to say. I didn't want to give this beautiful woman the wrong impression. Make her think that a brotha from California is some cocky dude trying to talk to her though actually, I would've been content with just watching her from a far.
"Are you enjoying yourself? I noticed your nice car over there. You're from California?" She asked with her beautiful accent.
"Yes, I am. I love it out here in Louisiana. I always come here though I've never been to Thibodeaux before."
The woman laughed and sort of covered her beautiful smile. It was as if she were trying to catch herself from laughing really hard.
"What?" I asked.
"It's just your pronounciation of Thibodeaux... It's okay... Sorry I didn't mean to laugh at you..."
The woman smiled and moved closer toward me. How could I possibly be offended by anything she'd say with a smile and face as captivating as hers. She extended her hand to introduce herself...
"Mon nom est Stephanie" She said.
"Nice to meet you..."
And then just as quickly as she'd introduced herself, she had to excuse herself. Someone in the distance called out to her. It was an older gentleman. Stephanie gave no hints as to who was calling her. She just smiled and shook my hand again.
"I'm sorry... Maybe we'll run into each other again since you come here often..."
"Maybe so, Stephanie...Take care..."
"You too, Mr. Handsome... Bye..."
I turned to walk back to my car but before I opened the door, I took one last look in the direction where Stephanie and I stood. It was kind of strange because I could see her still standing there but she wasn't really there. It was like her spirit remained standing there, watching me. I got into my car and drove off with yet another memory to lean back on whenever I needed a reason to escape. And living where I do, there's always a need for escape...