De retour à Paris et Contente. February 2008

So...I'm back in Paris and broke and unemployed but unbelievably happy with my life all the same. I have become so thankful for my friends here, for the belle vie that I have always wanted, I am humbled by the littlest things - kisses before teeth are brushed, the offer of a couch or a bed at the end of a soiree, metro long done, bottles of wine emptied and strewn across a messy coffee table. This is what life is about. It's not about success or money or the having of things or even the realization of dreams. It is about being in the moment and realizing that hope is alive and well and that we all have happiness waiting somewhere around the corner for us, or across the globe or wherever it may be. It's about the people we meet and how they take us places or give us reasons to live or show us things in ourselves we never knew existed.

I arrived back in Paris on Valentines Day. The airport was a bit of a disaster. My bags were WAY too heavy and I was charged an extra $100 to bring the rest of my belongings to Paris. Ca c'est la merde! Managed to sleep through my entire flight, fortunately but upon arrival realized it would be impossible to take my stuff on the metro, so I hopped in a cab and was astounded that a ride to my apartment could possibly cost me 50 euros! Ridiculous.

My best pal Chasen was waiting for me at home and happily offered to carry my heaviest suitcase up the stairs and I couldn't have been happier to see him! It was funny, I was expecting to arrive in Paris and spend the week alone. Ryley in Berlin, Chasen visiting Teo in Italy. Instead I was met with the open arms of friends, coffee with Becks and a Valentines Day I will never forget.

Perhaps by accident, perhaps not, Michael and I met at le Musee de Beaubourg, the scene of our first real date. I was so happy to see him but almost vomitting beforehand out of nervousness. It is strange when you really like someone and things are going well and you leave for a while, back to another life, back to another self even. It's not that I am different in Paris, but that it has opened up a new part of myself that I had forgotten existed living in Toronto. It reminded me of returning to my dorm, after Christmas my first year in University. You don't know what the future holds, but you know that you have moved on from the past and that unlike going somewhere for the first time - you are returning to a place that is not quite a home yet but has you anxious in the same way, with gusto and familiarity that fills your belly but butterflies, beautiful butterflies that you want to make last until the end of time.

Seeing Michael was not at all uncomfortable or awkward and we found ourselves laughing the night away, as usual, sharing a wonderful dinner, the occasional kiss and a couple demis. We went back to mine and made love most of the evening, with privacy, maybe for the first time ever. It is strange to share a bedroom with your best friends. Wonderful but frustrating in that you feel like a teenager with no place to go quand vous avez envie! :) It was a wonderful evening that ended in a strange but also magical way.

In comes Chasen at 4:00 AM, wasted and feelin' good back from an evening with Chris Mathias. He was kind enough to give me and my valentine some private time yet upon arrival, wasted enough to come join us for a late night Calvados. You would think having one of your best friends come into the room to meet your new man in the middle of night while you're undressed and under the covers would be awkward, but somehow it was lovely and hilarious and unforgettable. Under the guise of getting a glass of water to cure his spinning head, Chasen re-enters the living room with 3 glasses and sits down, turns up the music and three of us talk about life and lies and all the rest until finally Chasen leaves and we fall comfortably asleep together. It was a perfect night.

The next day, Michael left for work and Chasen and I decided to call Romain for lunch. The three of us dined and brainstormed about how to open a business together here in Paris. We are all tired of working for other people when we have the drive and know-how to do things on our own. Who knows, great ideas must happen over pichets of wine and Croque Madames in the 2nd, no? After lunch, we met a lovely painter from the quartier that may have an apartment for us for April. All will unfold soon enough I am sure.

Chasen and I passed one of the loveliest days I have ever passed with anyone ensemble. We talked about love, about hurting about the differences between men and women and whether it was worth pursuing someone who was a million miles away. Whether it was worth having a love that seems destined to end with tears, whether it was foolish to worry about something rather than enjoying it for what it is. We concluded that life was pretty damn great and decided to celebrate over dinner. We made our way to the Marais and drank red wine and ate pigs feet, duck and lamb until we were drunk enough to go to Stolly's.

Strange being there, seeing people who knew Teo so well. I felt out of place and stupid for the evening, most of all when people would respond to my saying that I dated Chasen's brother with "Oh...ANOTHER girlfriend of Teo's..." I suppose I have learned from all of it that I was not in love, that it was an infatuation built on the need to believe that it was possible for me to love again. And while I expected that might come as a devestating realization, instead I found myself feeling liberated by 3:00 AM, liquified with tequila and beer and grappa and happier than ever. I was finally free and instead of feeling sorry for the not-having a story with this boy for whom I was so head over heels for so long, I felt sorry for Teo for not getting to enjoy the feeling that I have been living here in Paris with Michael for a month now. What a difference a month makes.

The next morning, I invited Michael for a walk in Buttes Chaumont which turned into a day of adventures in train tunnels and empty warehouses and piano and saxophone and guitar and kissing and all the good stuff I have been longing for for WAY too long. It was a perfect day. In the afternoon, I met Elsa for lunch and we spent a couple hours rigoling in a theatre with Romain and laughing the night away at Maxime's with all of these wonderful people I can now call friends. We missed the last metro and I spent the night with Michael in Maxime's room and Elsa crashed on the couch. This morning we ate croissants together and drank tea and spoke in French and English and the international language of laughter.

I am truly happy. Now, I just need some sous.

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