Accent on Love

From our Classic Archives, originally published November/December 2003 issue

My French husband and I met while waiting to board a plane bound for Paris—back when it was still fun to go to the airport.

A mechanical problem had delayed our takeoff, and passengers crowded into a long cordoned-off line to ask questions or to try changing tickets at the counter. As I absent-mindedly looked around, I noticed a well-dressed, sun-tanned man slide his suitcase along and crawl under the rope barriers to get to the head of the line.

I smiled, musing to myself that even though he had a good head of hair, I would be embarrassed to death if I were with him. He noticed my smile and seemed to misinterpret it as a come-on. I didn’t mean to flirt. Or did I?

During the long wait for repairs, the airline shuttled all of us to a restaurant, and that’s when he found a way to strike up a conversation with me. Over dinner, I think we must have talked about everything from Napoleon Bonaparte to origami, the Japanese art of folding paper.

It didn’t matter what we talked about. It was the sound of his words that seduced me. I was as fascinated by his buttery, sensual voice and delectable, foreign accent as he must have been amused by my mix of high-midland-prairie accent and Southern soft-spokeness. I come from a part of the country known as “Little Dixie,” just below the imaginary extension of the Mason-Dixon line. I don’t talk; I twang and drawl. Once on the plane, fate would have it that our seats were together, and I think I must have twanged and drawled all the way across the Atlantic.

A long-distance telephone love affair followed, and we met whenever and wherever we could: London, Paris, New York, Miami, Philadelphia…eventually, we married. Although my French improved, I just couldn’t lose my twang, no matter how hard I tried. But, according to my husband, with my accent, a Frenchman could forgive me anything. After all, the only accent that counts is the one on love.

— Tricia Levecque from Versailles, France

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