I woke up early and thought I’d have a full day ahead of me, but after typing up my blog post, I fell back to sleep and woke again at nearly one pm. I showered, determined to get ready quickly so I could do ALL THE THINGS, but instead, I ended up talking to Bug for about an hour on the phone. By the time I left my apartment, it was a little after 3. Not the early start I wanted, but everything in Paris happens later – it stays light until at least 10pm – so really it wasn’t a wasted day.
My first priority: Food. I’ve barely eaten in the past week. I guess I’m one of the lucky few, who, when stressed, don’t comfort eat. Instead, I simply stop eating and live mostly on water and pieces of lettuce. I know it’s not exactly healthy, but that’s what I do.
Anyway, I found a cafe, took a seat outside, and ordered water and salad (I know, I know). After a few minutes, this young guy – around twenty-three, maybe – sat at the table next to me, so that we were more or less facing each other. He asked if it was okay if he smoked. I said, “yes.”
When I glanced at him, I noticed he had on a City Lights San Francisco t-shirt, so I asked if he’d been to San Francisco. He told me he’d been four years ago, that his aunt lives there. She’s some sort of scientist at UCSF. We chatted back and forth for a few minutes before his girlfriend showed up. She smiled and asked if he were boring me. “No,” I said. “He’s suffering through my bad French.” We laughed and spent the rest our time together using a mash-up of French and English.
The three of us formed a weird little group. Our small, round cafe tables touched each other, so I suppose it looked as if we knew each other. The guy smashed out his cigarette and asked if my heart had ever been so badly broken, I thought I would die.
I stared at my hands and wondered if I was carrying a wounded look. Did I look pathetically sad sitting alone? His girlfriend, wrapped her hand over his and told him to stop, that he needed to focus on the happy moments. Then he started crying. Turns out his father had died in April and this young guy felt as if he had lost the only thing holding him to the Earth.
When he stopped crying, he turned to me and said that he wanted to marry his girlfriend, but she wouldn’t agree to it. She sighed and shook her head. “His heart needs to heal. Marrying me isn’t what he needs. He needs allow his father to be gone.”
The whole time, I’m sitting there thinking I’ve fallen into some weird French existentialism film.The cigarettes, the deep conversation about love and healing and living in the present.
And as I watched them, it became clear how strongly she loves him. I asked how long they’ve been dating. Three years. But they’ve known each other since they were twelve. They are both at Sorbonne studying law – like the guy’s father.
After leaving them, I felt emotionally drained and just wandered around the Marais for a few hours. I’d wanted to purchase a few things today, but all I managed to do was buy soap.
Shortly after getting back to my apartment, I received a dinner invitation from some people I’d met the night before and I accepted. But since dinner wasn’t until 9:30pm, I had time to kill, so I decided to try out the washing machine in the bathroom. Now, I consider myself to be of average intellect and I could not figure out how to open the damn thing. It took me twenty minutes of pushing buttons, pulling on the door, and cursing before I figured it out. Kind of like the ridiculous key situation for the apartment. So many keys and weird door tricks. But that’s a different story…
Anyway, dinner was fabulous – a small, Italian place in the Montmartre. It feels nice to be so welcomed by strangers.
I made my way home a bit after midnight. I have to say, riding the Metro that late at night, by myself, makes me feel like a bad ass. Also, if I climb all 95 stairs at the Lamarck-Caulaincourt Metro stop everyday, I will never need to see my trainer, Tammy, again. They are brutal and an incredibly good workout.
Tomorrow, I’m going over Printemps to do some one-stop shopping, and I hope to get a little writing in. So far, I’ve not opened my manuscript, but I’m beginning to feel like I can. And that’s a huge step. After months of not being able to, the desire to write is slowly coming back.