Based on the view of Marseille from the train station, Marseille appears to be quite charming, looking more like an Italian village than the South of France town I had envisioned.
Being a single girl, I must first write about the men of Marseille before anything else, so here goes. Oh, the men of Marseille, how beautiful, and black. Oh my. I mean black. No really, I mean beautiful and black, but not black like me. When I look in the mirror, I see brown skin that I call black. When I look at these men, I see black skin that is black. Their skin is dark, dark, smooth, deep, amazingly pure black. There are black men everywhere, with bright eyes, bright smiles and perfect white teeth. They smile at me when I walk past. I remember Adrian’s advice from last year. “Don’t smile at men on the streets in France. It means you want to have sex with them!” I look, but keep my lips sealed.
Standing in line, waiting for information, I want to hold my arm next to the train station concierge’s arm and compare the contrast in color. I always thought my skin was the darkest of browns. I imagine what it must feel like to have his arm around me, wrapped in the depth of his darkness. The tall black concierge is a beautiful site for my eyes. He tells me in French how to purchase my ticket to continue on my trip to meet my friend in Carry Le Rouet, just west of Marseille.
I have an hour to spend taking a few photos before for the next train.
"Bonjour Madame....lah, lah, luh.." I hear in French as a beautiful dark black man approaches me; beautiful bright friendly smile, arms reaching out for my camera. I turn to look into his eyes and fall in love without speaking a word. He waits for my reply, as I stand there (like a drooling idiot) clutching my camera to my beating heart, admiring the darkness surrounding his smile. “Uh.” Is all I can manage to say.
“Ah, you speak English?” he asks, still smiling. “Yes.” I reply. “Your picture. Would you like, I take your picture?” Oh, I would like, you take me…I think to myself as I snap out of yet another fantasy. Still clinging to my camera, I intentionally and shamelessly check him out, standing there in front of me with his arms reaching out for my camera. I capture every detail of his darkness and beauty with my eyes. I smile on purpose, before saying, “Yes, okay.” As I hand him my camera seemingly in slow motion.
“Are you from England?” he asks after taking a few pictures. “No, I’m from the United States.” I reply in French. “And you?” I ask. “I am from Africa; Cameroon, but I am working in Marseille for the Ambassador of Cameroon.” He says after motioning for me to face the sun as he takes another picture.
His cell phone rings as he hands me back my camera and I begin to walk toward the train gates. The language he speaks sounds like the rhythm of a rap in a language I’ve never heard. He talks fast, walking slowly next to me. There’s an interesting rhythm of his fast speech and our slow steps together.
I listen to his conversation, but don't understand a word. I imagine he’s informing contacts that he’s spotted another female potential sex slave and they plan my abduction. He ends his call and asks, “Where are you staying? Is it possible to see you again?” As I envision the sex slave barge out on the Mediterrian (thanks to warnings from my younger sister) I reply without hesitation, “No, I’m sorry, it is not possible. My train leaves in 20 minutes.” “Oh, I am sorry.” He says as he begins to walk slowly in the opposite direction. I’m sorry too. I think as my eyes follow his body.
Twenty minutes later, as I board the train to Carry Le Rouet. I wish I would have taken a few photos of the beautiful black men of Marseille.