It is my last two days in Paris, the sun is shining, what shall I do before meeting A— at five near Gate de l’Est? I am a bit anxious about meeting her. I have dropped in on some friends as they worked but I haven’t met up with and spent quality time with anyone. I didn’t even contact many of my friends this time. Why not? And then once you spend too much time alone, sometimes it’s a bit daunting becoming a fellow human again.
I take the metro to Clichy. I will walk the quartier sensible and see where that takes me. I take the token photo of the Moulin Rouge. I’ve taken this same photo many times before, but it is worth taking again. This is a different time, after all. Can you capture time in a photo? You can.
I walk by my beloved Rebecca Rils sex shop but this time I don’t go in. I have made purchases there in the past and they collect dust chez moi in Toronto, hidden away, in a box in a shelf.
I am hungry. I stop in at Takasaki to have the sushi I was craving last night but I drank away my appetite instead. Today I feel good, so there’s no mood to deconstruct, no tangled yarn to unravel, we just accept the good moods unquestioningly, don’t we? Sushi is so expensive in Paris!
Oh, the holidays are hard for many people, I am a prime candidate. But, me, I am depressed with style! Me, I was sad as I sauntered slowly the streets of Paris. I realize, recognize, this little silver lining only this morning. I can be more optimistic about my loneliness and lows now that I am soon leaving.
N—– has messaged to say she received my Christmas card. I responded: « There is a beautiful little story behind how that got sent to you. I was at the airport, on my way here, to Paris, and I asked the waiter (where I was having a little glass of wine before ze flight) if there was a mailbox in the airport. He said no, then he leaned in and said: « I can send them for you when I’m done my shift, if you like. » Perhaps seeing my hesitation, he added: « If you believe in me. » He didn’t know there was $50 in there, and also in the card for Maya. But I handed them over to him. That’s how it got to you. Through the goodness of a lovely stranger. Isn’t that a precious moment and story? » I finish my royal maki saumon and two Euro glass of red and leave. It is half past noon.
I walk and I walk. Would I have done this much walking in Toronto? Most likely not, where it is so much colder and only slightly more familiar.
I have un petit café at Café Francoeur in the eighteenth, I walk more. I have la soupe oignon gratinée at Le Renouveau as I wait for A—. I see her!
We have a lovely conversation. Almost immediately I tell her I have been sick and depressed. I am keenly aware of how happy I am to meet with my friend, to sit and speak with her. People need people, silly girl. What was I thinking?
In trying to reconcile my realities, my love of Nature and my love of Paris, the freedom and lightness of not spending nor acquiring and the spending and acquiring I am doing here, meals, books, art expositions, old French films, all the stark contradictions that live within me, all real, all valid, looking at them all, I thought I would let go of, reject, some, embrace, only value others. I was unconsciously trying to compartmentalize, Nature and simplicity and the warmth of humanity here, city life and worldliness and possessions there. But no.
I am never going to create a system or reality where I am happy all by myself. The goodness of humans is everywhere. Silly human. Seconds after A— arrives I am flooded with relief and a burden lifts and I am so happy to see her, speak with her. I am blessed. My mosaic is manifesting, walls become welds.
D—– joins us for a drink. Then the two of them leave for Meaux, and I leave to go visit A——.
Finally, reconciliation. It is not a progression, but an expansion. You don’t move from one room to another, you create more and bigger rooms in your consciousness. You decide on your limits. It was me, after all, who said you have to be a healthy dose of hypocritical in order to get along in this crazy society into which I was born. I guess I forgot. I thought I had come here to say goodbye, that I wouldn’t be back, that this wasn’t « me » anymore, but instead I know now, I only came to say goodbye to loneliness. One last dance, it was. It didn’t have to be but, I had not reconciled my realities, my lessons, my consciousnesses. Just like the bike ride was a suicide mission, I did not want to die, I wanted the lonely existence I was living to end. And it did.
I remember a random conversation, long ago, with someone whose name I barely learned and certainly don’t remember. He said that you find love when you are where you are supposed to be, when you are happy, when you know your mission and you are doing it. You see? About strangers and words and listening? You see? I have thought often of what he said, because it rang true, despite how far I was from my own clarity. I feel much closer now.