“No, I can’t do this. Please stop. I just…I just can’t take this. Really.” She was angry. Frantic. Pierre was following her. Up the winding path. Between spaces in the flowers, shrubs, and trees you could see the ocean. A perfect blue. Parfait, she said to herself. A beauty so rich, that even in the midst of her fight with Pierre, she felt a profoundness. The walk to the top of the rock in Monaco wasn’t very long but it was steep. Patricia felt a shakiness in her joints. It was arthritis. And perhaps anger. Pierre followed behind her. Slowly. Not because of any physical reason. He simply wanted to stay behind Patricia and not crowd her.
Pierre, born in Paris and raised in Lyon, had met Patricia in a cafe in Nice. That was a few years ago. She was a middle-aged woman. Unmarried. Her history was a little fuzzy for Pierre. He knew she was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He knew she went art school in New York and was a designer for many years. Her work was steady, competent but not brilliant. She left New York for Nice two years ago. She had a job teaching English on an extended Visa. Pierre was older. Nearing sixty. Patricia was forty-five. She hadn’t quite adopted the Mediterranean lifestyle. She was always in a hurry. Rushing and never enjoying. An American to the core. They had fought in Pierre’s apartment the night before. About sex. It was always about sex. Pierre was amorous and Patricia’s sexuality fluctuated dramatically. Pierre sensed some kind of trauma in her past. She never shared. Only happy memories she shared. Family history. Patricia said she was related to Grace Kelly. The Kelly’s were a large Irish family in Philadelphia. When Pierre first met Patricia she told him about this dubious connection.
And now they were climbing the Rock in Monaco. Patricia stopped walking. It was the entrance to the chapel. The chapel was small but, nearly everything in Monaco was on a miniature scale. There were few tourists. It was December. Off season for Monaco. Patricia walked into the chapel quietly and stopped at the grave of Grace Kelly. Grace’s name was Latinized on the stone. She was laid to rest next to her husband. Tourists were snapping photos of the grave. They paid no attention to her husband. A few tourists were praying in the pews.
Patricia, after seeing the tomb, sat on a pew and Pierre set next to her. It was very quiet in the chapel.
“I do love you, Patricia.” Pierre took a lock of her blonde hair and hooked it behind her ear. He could see the outline of her face.
“I may not even be related to Grace Kelly.” Patricia looked solemn. “My Dad once joked we were Hungarian and relatives had changed the name to Irish immigrants they met on Ellis Island.”
“What does it matter?” Pierre was deeply confused.
“I want to be special.”
“You are, my dear. You are.”
Patricia laid her head on Pierre’s shoulder. “I just feel so angry all the time and so…unspecial.”
“My dear, I love you.”
And so, in the hushed quiet and coolness of the Chapel, Patricia spoke of her family and a rape that happened in college. She confessed in a chapel and imagined her words reached Grace Kelly whom she believed would be sympathetic. Through an upper window, she saw a perched pigeon on the windowsill and smiled. The pigeon seemed so gentle and curious.
“I name that pigeon Pierre,” she announced as she pointed her finger. And Pierre smiled. The man and the bird, though it was only the bird that cooed and fluttered its wings.