"So I met this man, who was very young, as I was. We went out for dinner in a group, with people I didn’t know. And there it was. I didn’t speak English, he didn’t speak French. I haven’t a clue how we managed. The miracle of love…
Years later at the Waldorf in New York, where I had a very nice suite, I invited Miles to dinner. The face of the maitre d’hotel when he came in was indescribable. After two hours, the food was more or less thrown in our faces. The meal was long and painful, and then he left.
At four o’clock in the morning I got a call from Miles, who was in tears. “I couldn’t come by myself,” he said. “I don’t ever want to see you again here, in a country where this kind of relationship is impossible.” I suddenly understood that I’d made a terrible mistake, from which came a strange feeling of humiliation that I’ll never forget. In America his colour was made blatantly obvious to me, whereas in Paris I didn’t even notice that he was black.
Between Miles and me there was a great love affair, the kind you’d want everybody to experience. Throughout our lives, we were never lost to each other. Whenever he could, he would leave messages for me in the places I travelled in Europe: “I was here, you weren’t.”
He came to see me at my house a few months before he died. He was sitting in the drawing room and at one point I went to the verandah to look at the garden. I heard his devilish laugh. I asked him what had provoked it. “No matter where I was,” he said, “in whatever corner of the world, looking at that back, I’d know it was you.”
- The French singer and actress, Juliette Gréco, in an essay for The Guardian on her romance with Miles Davies