I Love to Watch You Walk Away

The uniformed soldier stepped in front of me, his weapon across his chest.  “Vous ne pouvez pas rentrer sans billet!”

He rushed back to my side.  “It’s okay,” I said.  “I’m not allowed any further without a ticket.”  I blinked away a sting, lingering on the scar along his cheek.  The different tones of his skin.  More when it caught the sunlight.

“Vous devez quitter la plate-forme.”

“I have to go,” my voice came out hoarse.  His fingers entwining my hair, then, gently, releasing.


“I love to watch you walk away!”

Of course you do.  La douleur exquise.

Only he could make me laugh as my heart was being crushed.


Damn, I love to watch her walk away.

She turned back, overloading my senses.  Her eyes flashing with love and pain, her face aglow with mischief, her laughter filling my ears, her perfume lingering on my skin.

Watching her through the glass, breathing deeply into this ache.  What’s happened to me?



La douleur exquise (French), translation:  The pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
Literal translation:  The exquisite pain.



2 thoughts on “I Love to Watch You Walk Away

  1. Hey kid.
    It took a little bit for all the words to actually sink in, but the feelings behind them struck a chord almost immediately, the accompanying memories still so vivid.
    I really like this.

    Now, I don’t speak French whatsoever (well, aside from some, shall we say, Anglicanized colloquialisms of a nautical nature), but “La douleur exquise” struck a very familiar note from – great God almighty, could it really be? – as long as fifty years ago,
    “The exquisite pain”.
    The first time I ever heard that phrase was either from Ian Fleming in one of the Bond novels or from Ira Levin in (?) “The Boys from Brazil”. Can’t recall.
    Maybe it was “Marathon Man” / William Goldman, because I faintly recall it having something to do with a tooth getting drilled.
    But the phrase struck me so deeply that it somewhat remained part of my repertoire. I’ve found myself in all the years since then trying to incorporate that structure into so many phrases I have used myself:
    “the precise confustion”, “the comforting terror”, “the soothing turmoil”, “the World Champion Boston Red Sox” to name a few.
    Never realized it was French.
    Well, suck ‘er blue, what can you possibly have to say for the people responsible for “the little death”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Harris!

      I’m glad you like this one, thanks! I’m going to have to read some more Ian Fleming, and possibly others, because I can’t place the phrase in those works. The World Champion Boston Red Sox :).

      I’ve always liked the phrase for its poetic precision. There’s no equivalent expression in English. I’m not sure about other languages.


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