A warm breeze gently teased the golden brown leaves that littered the cobblestones. The park was empty, its lunchtime residents had slowly meandered off in their different directions, leaving behind them a silence and the lazy warmth of a Parisian summer.
The only person left was a young woman who sat on one of the old wooden benches, completely engrossed in a book. Her smooth brown hair was pulled back in a neat plait and she studied the book intently through round, gold rimmed glasses. She was one of those people who look as though they were born into the wrong era, someone who fitted better into a time described best by authors like Jane Austen. But there she sat, while pictures and scenes from the story colored her imagination, totally cut off from the outside world. So lost to the world was she that she hardly heard the young man who had sat down beside her.
"Pardon…" she glanced up from her book, "sorry, I didn't see you there…" she trailed off unable to take her eyes off the man who sat beside her.
"It's me who should be apologizing," he smiled, "I did interrupt your reading."
"Oh…no…that's ok...what was it you asked me?" She answered.
"I just commented on your choice of book," his blue eyes laughed, "Wuthering Heights, it's one of my favorites."
"Mine too!" She exclaimed excitedly.
"Walter," he held out his hand, "Walter Cavill."
"Katherine Bonnaire." Smiling shyly she shook his hand.
They sat there for a moment in a half awkward, half not silence. The silence however was short lived.
"So you enjoy reading?" Walter asked his eyes not leaving her for a second.
"Pardon…oh…yes, yes I love reading," she answered, "I find the worlds and people in my head much more interesting than those around me…" she broke off, "Sorry, that was rude I'm sure you're very interesting."
He laughed, "It's okay," he said, "I know what you mean."
"Are you new here?" she asked suddenly, "Your French is good, but I detect an English accent?"
"You got me," he smiled, "I arrived last week from London to study."
They sat on the old bench talking and laughing while the purple shadows sprouted and grew from the bases of the stark leafless trees. It wasn't until darkness had settled over the city that the woman stood up and pulled her bag over her shoulder.
"Come Walter, let me show you Paris through my eyes."
He smiled and followed her as she turned and walked out of the darkened park. Streetlights dripped golden puddles along the tar sidewalk giving the feeling of an old movie to the street.
The River Seine sparkled darkly under hundreds of hidden stars, drowned by the light of the city. Katherine stood on the bridge breathing the cool air, Walter beside her.
"It's beautiful." His voice was hushed.
"I know." She smiled. Suddenly she grabbed his hand, "Come on, there is so much more I wish to show you!"
He let her drag him off the silent bridge and towards the city center.
She took him to the small, brightly light cafes and pâtisseries, still open well after the departure of the sun. She showed him the dark parks dotted with fountains and golden street lamps. She lead him down cobbled streets, hung with boxes of colourful flowers. She took him to Notre Dame, it's dark interior light by hundreds of ever burning candles. Their flames flickering off the brightly painted glass.
The last place she showed him, was a place that few others knew of. Katherine took his hand and lead him down one of the narrow alleyways, immersed in shadows. Up a rusty old fire escape, its red paint coming away on their palms as they climbed. Then over a small ledge and onto a smooth, tiled roof. Paris stretched out below them. Hundreds of roofs spread out like a patchwork quilt, broken only by the dark seam of the river. Even the Eiffel Tower was visible, raising its needle like head above the tops of the buildings.
Katherine walked to the end of the roof, sat and swung her legs over the edge. Walter cautiously followed suit, gingerly sitting down beside her. She did not look at him, her eyes holding only the view.
"Thank you…" he trailed off.
She did not turn, but her voice floated gently through the darkness.
"I should be thanking you Walter, you gave me an adventure."
She felt him reach out in the darkness and thread his fingers through hers, and there they sat together in the darkened silence.
A girl sat alone on one of the tiled rooftops of a sleeping Paris. Her dark braid had begun to come undone and her eyes were closed behind gold rimmed glasses. A smile played across her lips as the pictures in her head danced before her eyelids.