The legion is our country
Calvi is a pristine ancient city in Corsica. A crusader era castle stands guard over the harbor filled with a rainbow of small fishing skiffs. I was on exchange to the Foreign Legion.
Legio patria nostra
Off duty, the major pastime was drinking liters of wine at the local cafes. I did not drink alcohol. I didn't drink coffee. What was I to do?
Honor and fidelity
The art museum! It was a small museum tucked into an ancient Roman building. I saw a young lady crying, Head bowed, sitting on a bench before a painting.
Honeur et fidelite
A man always carries two things, a pocket knife and a handkerchief. I offered her mine. When she looked up, I saw a radiantly beautiful face. No make up. Full red lips, high cheeks, beautiful
March or die
She had no English words for me. I had no French words for her. We left the museum her on my arm. With all the words necessary. She loved the painting so much it brought her to tears.
Marche ou creve
At a waterfront café she ordered me blood orange juice and herself a kir. Three golden rings on her slim fingers flashing in the rays of sunlight. I asked her name. She smiled demurely.
For the Country
She took me by the hand, led me to the sea. We swam and made love in the sea and sand. Her tender kisses placed me on another plain. We dressed and walked to a bus stop. A kiss she was gone
Por la Patria
When I asked for her in the French café, they had no English words for me. The museum was lonely. No one knew her name. I chased a specter of perfect love.
From the plane, I looked down on Calvi searching for perfection. I was not sad...I was not sad because it did happen.
Memory and smiles
Fifty years have past since that sunny day in Corsica where I was elevated and transported to a parallel universe where there was love, sun, and an unknown French girl.