Happy Bastille Day! Vive la France! Vive la révolution!
Vive la Republic!
Vive Brigitte Bardot!
Most of all Brigitte!
Our first encounter was outside the Circle movie theater in the Bronx. Teetering on the brink of puberty, I glanced innocently at the poster advertising the feature that was playing: And God Created Woman.
There, lying on her stomach, was this mind-bending, impossibly beautiful girl, the naked arch of her back exposed, tousled blond hair framing seductively pouty lips. And those eyes! Those come-hither eyes so blue, so bold, so shamelessly inviting!
Above her picture was her name: Brigitte Bardot! I’d never heard of her before. We stared at each other. I stood for what seemed an hour (but was probably only a minute or two.) “Brigitte,” I whispered, “I love you.” Her eyes spoke back to me: “I love you too, mon Pierre.”
I stepped up to the box office in expectation of buying a ticket only to find that the gate to paradise was barred. The sign in the window was printed in big black letters: POSITIVELY NO ONE UNDER 18 ADMITTED.
Right there, I decided that since I couldn’t see the movie, I’d save up for a trip to Paris. I wrote Brigitte care of her studio. I told her I was coming. If she was already living with a lover–which seemed likely since she was French–and didn’t want to break his heart (not yet), she should write back and tell me the street corner where she’d be waiting. We’d find a cozy, inexpensive hotel nearby.
In my recurring dream, she loitered there expectantly, the lamplight encircling her, her trench coat pulled tight, a small bag with her night things (a very, very small bag) slung over her shoulder, a Gaulois dangling from those lips, sigh, those lips.
I never made the trip. She never wrote back. Not that I know of. But sometimes, I think that she did get my letter, that she did write back, and that her letter–so brief, so sweet, so Brigitte–was lost. Only a few lines, it went like this:
“Quand je te pense, mon âme monte. Mon coeur ne peut pas contenir sa joie! Au coin de la Rue de Dames, sous la lampadaire, mon seul refuge de la nuit sans étoiles, je t’attends. Et je t’attendrai. Jusqu’à ce que tu viens. Viens vitement, mon amour.”
(When I think of you, my soul soars. My heart cannot contain its delight. On the corner of the Rue de Dames, beneath the streetlight, my only refuge from the lonely, starless night, I wait. And will wait. Until you come. Come quickly, my love!)
O Brigitte! My Brigitte, I’m on way!