The delicate old lady with snow white hair sitting next to Pamela counting her prayer beads never
missed a beat as the Jumbo Jet broke ground and darted upward. “Oh my,” she gasped. Her wrinkled face grimaced with fear. Pamela reached across the seat and patted the
old woman’s shaking hand. “First flight?” she asked, trying to show a great deal of calm herself. The old lady nodded, never skipping a count on her beads!
“Everything will be just fine, try to relax a little.” Pamela’s friendly smile captivated everyone she came into contact with and the shaking little old woman was no exception.
She returned her smile a little reluctantly as she asked in her broken English, “Are you Catholic Mon Ami?”
Pamela smiled realizing the old lady was very much a Frenchman. “Baptist,” she answered shaking her head, and smiling again as she said, “Same God.” With that the old
lady nodded in agreement and continued her prayers.
Pamela sat quietly looking out the window deep in thought, as New York passed under her and quickly only
blue sky was visible.
“Are you visiting someone in my Parie?” the old lady spoke. Pamela turned in her seat to answer her question.
“Not exactly,” she said. “I’m traveling on business. I am a dress designer and I am going to Paris for the new
fashion showings.” Pamela shivered as she uttered those words, it was a dream come true.
The Captain’s reassuring voice came over the intercom.
They were at altitude and could unbuckle the seatbelts and move about the cabin. Pamela thought how wonderful it was to hear him.
Pamela adjusted her seat back and gave a sigh of relief.
The magazine in the pocket in front of her had a beautiful colored picture of the Eiffel Tower on its cover. She
smiled as she gently touched the cover. “I’m really on my way and I will see you soon,” she said to herself staring at the picture.
As she closed her eyes she remembered the note her daughter Jill had tucked into her pocket with instructions not to read until she was airborne. She wasted no time in
Inside the note read, “I love you Mom, have a wonder time. Watch those fabulous Frenchmen!” She added, “Ha Ha. You deserve this trip! Love, Jill”
Leaving Jill was definitely the hard part of the trip. But she was a grown woman now and Pamela hated to admit that. She still liked to think of her as her “little girl.” Jill often had to remind her that she had her own job, her own apartment and doing quite well at college. It hadn’t
been long that Jill left for College and the apron strings had to be broken.
Pamela thought of her daughter and the wonderful friendship they had developed since that time. Jill was a
young lady with a definite mind of her own. She recalled their conversation just two days before. “Who will keep you in line in Paris Mom if I’m not with you? I think I should go as your chaperone,” she teased. It was a natural thing for Jill to worry about her Mother. She hated her living
alone and never doing anything. She knew her Mother was never going to get over the death of her Dad until she
began socializing and meeting people again. That’s why this trip to Paris was so important to Jill. This was going to be her Mom’s “coming out again” trip!
“I can’t believe you are actually going to Paris. Maybe you’ll meet some handsome, exciting Frenchman who will sweep you off your feet!” Jill was only half teasing. It was really her dream for her Mom.
“Is that all you ever think about young lady?” Pamela scolded her. She too was only half teasing. Jill was not afraid to tell her Mother her feelings. Pamela had taught her to always be truthful. Jill smiled at her Mother sweetly and replied, “You need to start living again Mom!”
Pamela closed her eyes as the quiet hum of the jet engines filled the air. It was hard to swallow the lump that
had developed in her throat as she thought about leaving Jill behind.
“It’s only a month, thirty days, get a hold of yourself,”
Pamela thought to herself. It was her “reality” check on herself. She learned that lesson a long time ago from a very famous pastor who reminded her that Jesus suffers when
we suffer. He feels our hurts; he knows our thoughts – so talk to him. That was how she had survived this past year without her beloved husband. God came alongside and
filled her heart when it was in such pain. Pamela breathed deep and thought, “God is good.” She glanced at the little old lady next to her who seemed to be a little more relaxed.
“That’s good,” she smiled.
Pamela jumped as the “fasten your seatbelt” sign went on and the announcement came over the speaker. She felt a few bumps and looked out the window to see a very cloudy sky. Staring out the window Pamela began thinking of how it all happened that she was even on the plane, heading for Paris.
It had only been a few weeks since her boss, J.P. Orland had surprised her with the news of the Paris trip. There had been some very catty remarks going around the office as to why she had been chosen to take this trip. She overheard one of the girls at the copy machine saying, “She’s sleeping
with J.P., that’s how she got the trip.” That remark hurt her deeply. She thought she had always tried to present herself in a better light than that!
J.P. was so caught up in his business he wouldn’t give her a second look. She had almost decided to ignore the
remark but decided to face it head on. She prayed as she decided just how to approach Sally in a Christian way.
This took a lot of prayer on Pamela’s part, she had to get over how she really felt, mad.
The office was the open style with at least 50 desks placed around the room. There was an obvious silence
that fell over the room as Pamela walked around Sally’s
desk and placed her hand on her shoulder. Sally winced as if she were expecting to be hit.
“Can we go somewhere and talk?” Pamela said in a quiet tone. “I need to clarify something for you and I don’t
want to do it out here in front of everyone.” She smiled at Sally.
Sally looked pale but agreed to go with Pamela to the ladies lounge. Pamela could see the pain Sally was going through. She knew what it was all about, that was obvious.
It would be so easy to really light in on her, put her in her place, show her who’s boss, but Pamela knew in her heart that would not be right, not the Christian way, not a way she could show she was a Christian.
“Sally,” she said calmly, “I’m so happy to be going to Paris to represent Mr. Orland in this years fashion designs,
I know you’re happy for me.” Sally swallowed hard.
Pamela continued, “I don’t know if you know it or not but this was a joyous surprise for me since I hardly know Mr. Orland personally. But I know you know all that. I know how hard it is to keep a secret around here,” she laughed.
Sally laughed a little shyly, dropping her head.
“I would love to bring you something back from Paris, do you like perfume?” she asked.
Sally sputtered as she said, “That would be real nice of you, Miss Pamela.”
“It would be my pleasure, perfume it is. I do hope you will have a wonderful day today, there’s lots to do before I am ready to go. I really appreciate all you do for Orlands
and for me especially!”
Pamela leaned close to Sally and whispered in her ear,
“The tongue can be a very wicked thing, if not used properly.
I really try to remember that.” She smiled at Sally.
“Yes Ma’am, I will remember that too.” She answered sheepishly.
Pamela patted her gently on the shoulder and said, “I will see you when I return.”
Sally was obviously impressed with the way Pamela had taken care of the situation. Tears filled her eyes as she
thanked Pamela for understanding.
As Pamela turned and walked away she couldn’t help wonder why J.P. had picked her for this trip. She did have seniority and she was the head of the Fashion Department at Orlands, but J.P. definitely had his favorites and she never saw herself as one of those girls.
Pamela had looked at the ticket she held in her hand that made her trip a reality. She didn’t know why but she
was going to the fashion capital of the world, Paris!
Pamela had a few second thoughts as she listened to J.P.’s blistering voice. “Get over there – get the scoop on
the fashions for next season! Get us some new ideas! New ideas, that’s what we need,” he spit out the orders never looking around to face her.
Pamela thought to herself, “He wouldn’t recognize me if I ran right into him in the hallway.” She wanted to ask him to turn around but she thought better of it! After all,
he was the boss.
She wondered as she began gathering up the things she needed to take with her on the plane how she would
ever change J.P.’s conservative ways. She had tried before during this past year as head Fashion Coordinator for Orlands Department Store Chain but it hadn’t worked. He just couldn’t get “modern” and that was really hurting his business. He always laid her ideas aside and took the least line of resistance, staying with designs he was absolutely sure would sell. Now he wanted her to go to Paris and get
the “scoop” as he called it. Would he be open to the new ideas she would bring home? She wondered.
The clouds had disappeared and beautiful blue sky was all you could see out the window of the plane. She glanced again at the in-flight magazine and the picture of the Eiffel
Tower on the front.
“Are you alright Mon Ami?” The little French lady had been watching Pamela deep in thought. She added quickly, “You are so elegant, your clothes, so lovely. Paris should
be honored to have such a guest as you.”
Pamela smiled as the old lady added, “I have never met a celebrity before.”
“Just a very lucky lady,” Pamela answered. She reached over to squeeze the woman’s wrinkled hand that still clutched the prayer beads tightly in them. Pamela had
a special feeling for the old lady. It struck her as strange since she just met her. The old lady had a way of making Pamela feel special and a bit important. She had not had that feeling in a long time. Jill always tried, but no one took the place of her late husband.
Tom had a way of doing just that, making her feel special all those twenty-two years. Now, without him so much was missing. She paused and memories began to flood her mind. She felt emptiness, loneliness. She missed having him to depend on. Tears streamed down her cheeks
as she sank into her thoughts even more.
She remembered the feel of his warm body close to hers. She loved the salty taste on his lips and shoulders.
She felt a knot in her stomach. She hadn’t let her thoughts go back in a long time. Now she quickly wiped away the tears and realized again how much she missed his warm, loving understanding.
She began working with her notebook, shuffling all the papers she had to go over but it seemed to be for no purpose. “Will this terrible feeling ever go away?” She remembered
the bible verse Pastor Smith had given her to hang onto, Proverbs 5:3, “Trust in the Lord with all your
heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your pathway straight.” She sighed, feeling much better. “I have almost
worn that verse out. I wonder if God ever gets tired of my repetition?” She knew the answer to that before she said it. He doesn’t.
“Where did that itinerary go anyway?” she muttered to herself trying to get her mind off her memories.
She began to read:
Monday: 9:00 AM – Rex Dupar’s office.
2:00 PM – Lunch at Care Deux-Magets – Left Bank.
“Hum,” she whispered, “Rex Dupar, the most eligible bachelor and most sought after designer in all of Paris and I get to have lunch with him.” Pamela’s pulse raced with
excitement. “He has to be very tall, thin and just a touch of gray hair around his temples.” At least that was the picture she had of him in her mind.
As she shuffled her papers, an envelope caught her eye.
“Another good-luck message from Jill?” she wondered as she ripped it open. If she hadn’t been in such a hurry she might have realized from the return address that the envelope
was from Jeff Desmond!
She began to read: “Good Luck! I’ll be waiting for you.
Sorry about everything. Lets start over. I love you, signed Jeff.”
Pamela paused. She read the message over and over.
Then she accidentally repeated the message out loud. She shook her head in disbelief.
“Start Over? Not a chance! Who does he think he is anyway?”
Pamela was embarrassed when she noticed everyone turning around to see what the commotion was all about.
Her face flushed. She glanced at the little old lady and was glad she had fallen asleep. She quickly pulled the magazine over her face and scrunched lower in the seat, hoping no one would notice her.
“He is so full of himself it’s down right disgusting!” she mumbled quietly to herself. “Count to ten, count to ten,”
she reminded herself. “Why am I always counting to ten when it comes to Jeff?” she sighed again, pretending to read the magazine.
It wasn’t long before her thoughts drifted back to their first kiss. Her hands began to perspire as she remembered how powerful, yet sweet and loving that kiss was. Jeff was about the biggest catch of the season. He had looks, money, and was single. Every woman had her eye on the
single heartthrob of the year! The gossip columnists had a field day with him.
Pamela closed her eyes and reminded herself that was not what she was looking for. She wanted more, a deep,
caring relationship built on faith and trust, a relationship like she had with her late husband. “I don’t think that
would ever be possible with this ‘man of the world’,” she sighed.
She tried to push the thought of Jeff Desmond out of her mind. “It’s over, finished!” she whispered. The handsome department store manager was a closed subject.
Pamela began tearing the note in tiny shreds. By this time the little French lady moved her wrinkled hand across
the seat and patted her hand. “It will be alright,” she smiled.
Pamela realized she had probably heard the sighs and the paper tearing but really needed someone to give her a little comfort at that moment.
Pamela reached across the arm of the seat and gave the old woman a kiss on the cheek. The thought crossed her
mind, “A kiss is the same in any language!”
The “Fasten Your Seatbelt” sign came on. People began buckling their belts as the steward announced, “We will be arriving in Paris in a few minutes.” Pamela glanced out the
window to see the land appear below. Her heart began to flutter as she anticipated what would be happening next.
She watched as the bags began to circle the ramp. It was a good feeling to see her bags come around. “One,
two, three,” she counted. They were all there! “Yes,” she smiled.
As she looked around, nothing looked familiar. The signs, all in French, made her realize more than ever that
she was the foreigner in this country. She opened her book to try and translate! This was not a simple task. It seemed to take hours to find out how to say, “where is the…”
Just as she began to feel very frustrated, a very French voice startled her. “Ms. Thornton?” he asked.
“Yes.” She whirled around to see a very tall, handsome Frenchman stood smiling at her.
“Oh,” she said, sounding a bit like a schoolgirl lost on her first day at high school. “Did Mr. Dupar send you?”
“Oui,” he answered. His French accent was very evident.
She knew that it meant, “Yes.”
“Thank heavens! I was beginning to feel very lost! I really didn’t know what to do next!” She smiled and he
smiled back. She was sure he didn’t understand one word she said!
She pointed to the beautiful aqua bags that were on the ground beside her. “These are mine.”
“This way mademoiselle,” he said as he led the way through the crowded lobby to the exit doors. A maroon
limousine pulled alongside the entrance. The chauffeur jumped out quickly and opened the door for her. He turned to look at the handsome Frenchman, “Your car Mr. Dupar,” he said. Bowing a bit.
Pamela looked shocked! “Dupar?” she quizzed.
“Rex Dupar, at your service Chéri.” He bowed slightly too and laughed.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” Her face turned a bright pink which made her blue eyes sparkle
“How wonderful, a woman who can still blush!” he smiled.
“I feel so foolish, I never expected a busy man like you to meet me,” she had a perplexed look on her face. Pamela had wanted his first impression of her to be one of elegance and refinement. She knew she had just blown that away.
“Please, do not be embarrassed, it is I who should apologize.
It was a little joke, but perhaps not a very good one?”
He raised his eyebrows a bit waiting for a response.
“It’s really okay, it was really a good joke on me.” She smiled.
“Mon Ami, you are so very kind. Do forgive my little joke and let me repay it. If you will allow me, tomorrow
I shall show you my Paris!” He bowed again.
“That would be wonderful, I can’t wait.” Her excitement was evident in her voice.
“You have not seen Paris until you see it with a French man!” he laughed.
Pamela didn’t feel like going to bed, even though the clock on the wall said it was time. She glanced at her watch
and was reminded of the time difference. “Jet lag, that’s what I have, jet lag.” She smiled as she began changing the time on her watch. She was completely mixed up and the
excitement she felt finally got the best of her. She whirled around in a circle repeating over and over, “Can this really be happening to me? Paris?” When she finally settled back to the job of unpacking, she thoughtfully thanked God for making all of this possible. “God is so good,” she
whispered and then followed it with the saying she had grown up with in church, “all of the time.”
Pamela had just finished hanging the last of her clothes in the closet when there was a knock at the door.
Puzzled, she opened the door. A short, pale-faced man stood holding a huge bouquet of yellow roses.
“Oh, for me?” She said in surprise.
“Oui Mademoiselle.” He handed the bouquet to Pamela waiting for her response.
“Oh yes, the tip,” she sputtered as she tried to find her purse in the mess she had still laying on the bed. She opened her purse and grabbed a handful of coins. She had no idea how much each coin represented. The deliveryman
smiled and acted very grateful. As Pamela closed the door she wondered how much she had given him. “I must learn this money,” she muttered. Pamela smelled the roses and
pulled the card from the holder.
The enclosure read:
MISS YOU ALREADY!
I WAS FOOLISH.
FORGIVE ME FOR BACK BAY.
“I can’t believe him. He knows how I feel about Back Bay Harbor.” Her jaw flexed as she read the note over and over. She couldn’t imagine how he could stoop so low,
to refer to her hideaway overlooking Back Bay Harbor, Maine. Jeff was bringing out feelings of anger, rejection, and disappointment. She had just gotten over all of that
but at that moment they came flooding back!
Jeff had shaken her, unsettled her emotions. Emotions that she thought she would never have again. “How can I ever be free to love again?” She sobbed as thoughts of Jeff came flooding back in front of her eyes. She remembered how Jeff held her close in his arms so firm and loving. She
remembered the touch of his lips on hers and the warm glow she felt.
Pamela regained her composure and muttered to herself.
“Never again! He’s no good for me, I know it!” she began a conversation with herself. “How could I have
been so taken in? Didn’t Tom’s memory deserve better?”
Pamela felt pangs of guilt sweep over her. She tossed the card into the wastebasket but couldn’t bring herself to discard the roses. Pamela softly touched one of the petals
as she thought about Jeff Desmond, a man she needed to forget! She quietly prayed, “Help me God, I’m so weak
and he is so handsome!”
The next morning bright and early Rex was at the door. Paris was everything she had dreamed of and with Rex as her guide it was especially wonderful. She had a hard time taking in all the sights as Rex pointed out the different sights. She loved the tree lined streets and all the artists painting along the banks of the Seine. She had seen movies of these places all her life but to be there in person
“Over there,” he pointed to the Eiffel Tower jetting up into the sky. “Would you like to go up inside?” he asked.
Pamela hesitated, “Well if it’s all the same to you I would rather not. I am not too good with heights and I am still trying to get my feet on the ground from that long flight,”
“I understand completely,” he smiled back. Rex motioned for his chauffer to stop the car so they could get out.
“Let’s walk a while, you can do some window shopping!”
Rex knew what every woman wanted, Shopping!
Pamela was in 7th heaven. They walked down the treelined street to the end, not missing a store. She had piled presents up on Rex’s arms so high he couldn’t hold one more. They began to laugh as he bent down to retrieve one of the gifts off the top of the pile.
“I think I’d better quit,” she laughed. “I don’t think there is an empty spot in your car!”
Rex motioned for his limousine to pick them up. The chauffeur had been driving slowly following them as they
walked. “One more thing you must do Chéri, toss a coin into the river,” he handed her a coin. “We shall drive to a spot you can do that!” he said, giving the driver instructions.
“I guess you want me to make a wish, right?” She held the coin tightly in her hand thinking of what she should
“One thing for sure, Chéri, once you do that the magnetic love of Paris will bring you back again!” Rex sounded
very sure of that fact.
“It’s all so wonderful, like I am having a beautiful dream. I don’t want to wake up!” She sighed.
“We have seen so much today, I can hardly keep it all straight!” She smiled.
“I am afraid I have tired you,” he said as he took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders. “You are having a chill. It gets very cold as the sun begins to set.”
Pamela couldn’t help remember her daughter’s words,
“Maybe you will meet a handsome Frenchman!” A tiny smile crossed her lips.
“You are thinking something funny?” he asked.
“Well,” she stammered, wondering if she should really be telling him how she felt.
“You sound a bit uppity,” she paused watching for some kind of expression on Rex’s face. “You know, stuck
on yourself.” Rex looked puzzled.
“Oh, as you American’s say, a Jerk!” he smiled.
“Well, yes, I guess that’s what I was trying to say,” she gulped.
Rex broke out in a loud uncontrolled laughter. Pamela stared at him waiting for his next remark.
“Perhaps, a few years ago, Chéri, Oui, - but not any more. My success has been sweet and rewarding but also
very humbling. I learned the hard way that no man is an island and certainly no man becomes a designer without a lot of friends to help him along the way!” He smiled and
continued, “I am so fortunate to have many good friends and I feel I have again met another good friend today!”
He bowed gently and kissed her hand.
“I feel that way too,” she placed her hand on top of his.
“Tomorrow I have someone I want you to meet. He is a very special friend of mine. Someone who can help you here in Paris!” he said.
“I would consider that an honor,” she replied graciously.
“He’s young, handsome and a very ambitious man. He is also an American in Paris!” He smiled.
“That’s wonderful. When do I get to meet this fellow American?” she asked.
“I shall plan a small dinner party for you, then you shall meet Grant Mondane. He has control of one of the
largest chains of department stores in Europe. He is only thirty and is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in all of
“Sounds very impressive. Actually, just about right for my daughter!” She laughed. “She just turned 21.”
“I know you mentioned your daughter but there is no way you have a daughter 21!” He looked shocked.
“My you do know all the right things to say Mr. Dupar!”
she teased, making a polite nod.
“All I can say, Chéri, if she is as beautiful as her mother well—ooh lala!” He smiled.
“You are so good for my ego, and I do thank you for the compliment. Jill is truly beautiful inside and out and
the love of my life,” Pamela added quickly.
“And your husband, Chéri, is he also the love of your life?” Rex watched her face. Pamela paused and looked
down for a long moment not speaking.
“Forgive me, Chéri, I am intruding,” his voice cracked with embarrassment.
“No need to feel that way,” she smiled softly, “My husband passed away last year very suddenly. I was completely
devastated. I thought my life was over. This is the first time I have been away since then.”
“I am so sorry, Chéri,” he said softly.
“Jill loved her father as much as I did. The loss was hard for both of us. But, she was young and had an exciting life in college so she has been able to go on. For me it was not so easy. One very good thing came out of this tragedy.
My daughter and I have become closer than ever. We are very good friends.”
“How very lucky you are to have her,” he smiled and added, “Will Jill be joining you in Parie?”
“I wish she could but she is very busy with her schooling.
She makes sure she comes home on vacations and summer but not often enough for me,” Pamela sighed.
Pamela couldn’t believe she had opened up so quickly to Rex. It was not like her to share her feelings so openly with anyone, especially regarding her late husband. She
took a deep breath and waited for Rex to speak.
“You miss your husband very much don’t you Chéri?”
“More than I can ever say. His memory is with me constantly. We were married twenty-three years,” Pamela’s eyes showed the sadness she felt inside. “We were constant
companions. It was a very special relationship.” She paused a moment and then continued, “It was an unselfish love.
He always wanted the best for me and I wanted the same for him. I do miss him so,” her voice trailed off.
Rex touched her hand softly. His understanding was electric. Pamela felt that electricity and knew she had a new friend in Rex.
That evening Pamela was still remembering the conversation
with Rex and how the memories were flooding back even as she had tried to put it all behind her. Just talking
with Rex about it made it all seem as if it were yesterday.
She felt alone and sad as she sat in the hotel room. Her life had changed so much this past year. She hated it without her Tom.
Where had the years gone? There were so many things left undone, so many things they planned to do together.
Pamela slipped into deep thought.
Pamela thought back to the day she married her Tom. It seemed so long ago and yet as only yesterday. Her thoughts reeled as she remembered the day she spotted Tom across the hallway from her design class in High school. She recalled how she always made a special detour so Tom could
get a good look and give a wolf whistle so she would look around.
Pam had a special little twist of her hips and a toss of her long black hair that caused the guys to turn around.
Tom was no exception. With Tom she always managed to give him an enticing smile.
Tom was on the varsity football team as an end and Pamela was a majorette so when the season started they
found themselves together. Tom had been just an average player but Pamela thought he was the only one on the team. Tom spent time watching her as she pranced around,
twirling her baton to the music of the school band.
Pamela recalled how she almost gave up on Tom. He was so shy she wondered if he would ever get up the courage to ask her for a date. When he finally asked her out, she about fainted.
Pamela smiled as she remembered that first date. She loved the way Tom always teased about that first date and their courting days. His favorite remarks were, “I was a real nerd I think. Never dated before, a real backward kid.”
Pamela remembered too what a change came over Tom when she got him to go to youth group at the church with her. It wasn’t long until Tom was the favorite of everyone.
They shared the same faith and God smiled on them as a couple from the very beginning.
Pamela wanted to stop remembering but the memories just kept coming back. She could see Tom pulling into her driveway for their first date. His cute customized Chevrolet,
the one he worked on constantly, made her heart skip a beat.
Her parents liked him right away. “Home by twelve,” her dad reminded them as they went out the door.
“Sure thing Sir,” Tom answered firmly. They were home by twelve she recalled. Pamela realized she was in love before Tom did. It took him a while to realize he couldn’t live without her. Tom didn’t know it but Pamela had her mind made up from the moment she laid eyes on him.
He was doomed! Tom and Pamela dated for a year before he asked her to marry him.
Pamela’s eyes were filled with tears of joy when Rex’s voice made her jump. “You have been away in your
thoughts, Chéri,” Rex sat quietly in the chair next to her.
“Forgive me,” she smiled.
“What shall we do tomorrow Chéri?” he asked, realizing it was time to change the mood of the moment.
“I would love to see your salon and some of your designs.
Is that possible, or do you worry that I’m a spy?” she flashed him a questioning look.
“For you Chéri, anything is possible. We shall have our very own showing of my most beloved designs. Tomorrow it is!” He bent over and kissed her hand softly.
Pamela waved as Rex’s limousine pulled away from the curb. “How lucky I am to have this new friend!” she sighed as she walked toward the hotel steps. A gust of wind caught her skirt and in that very moment she felt a sudden loneliness overwhelm her.