Friday, November 6, 2009

no, no, actually I'm not going out tonight

I have 3 huge suitcases staring at me from the corner of a dark shadow of my apartment. The toilet and shower and closet shelves are clean, although unnecessarily so. I've given more to this apartment than is necessary to clean it, but I'm a bit OCD and a bit fetishy about cleaning, so I take this time to inhale bleach and other toxic chemicals and scrub scrub scrub while think think thinking of what I'm cleaning away.

I am prepping my ipod for the 14-hour flight on Aer Lingus: sexy tunes for when Mr. Flight Attendant asks, in his almost incomprehensible Irish accent, if I'd like "coffee, tea, Michael Collins Single Malt, or Michael Collins cunnilingus?" And then, the tunes for when I pop a sleeping pill and attempt to twist-cramp myself to sleep. (I have lewd fantasies of "accidentally" slipping a hand into my pants to fondle myself while sitting next to a handsome potato-exporter.)

There were fireworks somewhere out in the city, and the Eiffel's light rotates overhead. I know I'm forgetting so many things, just like I knew I was forgetting something when I left Spaniard's apartment this morning. "Thanks for the nice umbrella :-)" he texted. But I know what I'm leaving here, and I know I can't take it, and I know I'll feel short of it for a while.

... Finally.... Finally, the tears are coming. I've been wishing they'd come. A few streams in Spaniard's bed was not enough. A few stiffled droplets during adieus to friends was not enough. Which is why I am not going out tonight. I need to say good-bye - my way, finally. It's been building oh so building. The street line when I turn the corner at my metro, my street line, my chimney stacks to the sky, my grey buildings against hazy, dusky, impressionist skies. The last frustration in BHV, searching for vacuum bags when no one knows where they are and refer you to another floor's department. The fact that my French is good enough for them to understand me, but still not know what I'm talking about. That I'm asked for directions and can turn and point with clarity and sureness. That I know the metro lines and the fastest way to get there. That I can still get lost by a block but then remember what neighborhood, where it leads, what it's next to. This familiarity. The tea had with new friends just yesterday under an awning under the pouring, drenching, loud rain. Our breath seen for flittering seconds beneath the heat stands. The so-not-environmental heat stands.

So, I've said my good-byes to those that need them. And those friends to whom I haven't know who they are and why it might be harder for me to say good-bye to them. For they are the first I knew here. I want to refuse to say good-bye to them. I want to pretend this journey goes on. That my voyage to the US is simply that. A moment of respite from here.

But I know this isn't the case. It never is.

I left Buenos Aires in 1991 after three and a half years of growing up there, and I have yet to return. I rarely return. Even my return trips to the Midwest mean something strange to me.

But Paris is, indeed, a moveable feast. She will be inside me forever and I in her. If just for a small second, a slight dent in time, an imprint in this historic apartment filled with ghosts previous to me and enjoyed by me and better for me.

This is my good-bye party. This is my moment of hugs and tears and so longs and until we meet agains.


M. said...

Paris will no doubt miss you, but -- and I know it's little consolation -- the U.S. will be a little richer with you back in it. Hope to see you soon, love.

suicide said...

I had a moment this morning when I saw you posted Edith Piaf and realized you had left Paris-- I dont know if I have been living vicariously through you, but I felt an overwhelming sadness and actually teared up.

Anonymous said...

you are Paris

at least for me

love you