I ate it because you wanted me to.
You showed me how to hold the shell in that tiny metal pincer, and squeeze. I could smell the garlic wafting up and I wondered if you’d be able to taste it on me afterwards.
I knew which fork to use. I knew which wine would best accompany the snails. I knew how to pronounce Rue Coquillière when you gave me the address, and how to ask for directions when I got lost near Les Catacombes, dusk spilling magic onto the cobblestones.
And I knew how to walk when I entered the restaurant, hips swinging slowly as the tapping of my heels sang a song every god damned man in that place listened to.
You ordered the snails. I didn’t tell you I’d never eaten them before. You showed me the pincer, and how to dig into the soft flesh with a tiny fork, flecks of chervil floating just below the shell. You wanted to be Paris for me and I…well, I wanted to swallow every mouthful.
You asked if I could translate the name of the restaurant. I smiled behind my wine glass and said yes, yes, if there were ever a word I would know, it would be that.
It’s what all French women are, he told me.
Les Petites Sorcières.
You leant over, and hooked a strand of hair behind my ear.
I licked a slick of butter from my lips, and watched your gaze drop to my mouth.
The Little Witches.
I felt the garlic spiral down my throat in a wash of cold wine. Candles flickered on the tabletops and threw dancing light across the pale ceiling. I was starting to feel the alcohol.
And I wanted to tell you, That’s not just French women.
But I reached for another shell as you slid your knee between mine, and kept silent.
I knew you’d find that out for yourself.
I had a dream in French last night.
It was indulgent, sensual, and full of light.
I miss Europe.