Today, Paris feels hard and lonely. This week has been tough. I had a job at a famous bakery, and I lost it after two weeks there. I’m not completely crushed, and I’ve managed to pretty much ignore any bruises my ego feels, because it didn’t feel right for me.  This job fell in my lap and as quickly as it came it went but I learned and observed and got better at things that weren’t my strength. Maybe that is all I was meant to get from it. Still, there is a low level panic that permeates everything at the moment. I think I’ve hit a wall and I’m not sure how to climb over it.   A tiny part of me wants to run home but I’m not even sure where that place is anymore.

The other day I thought, I have no idea what is going to happen in my life, no clue, I can guess or daydream or hope. I can look at the past and see how I have always managed to make wherever I am my own but what will happen in the coming years I really don’t know. There are things that I want now that I never wanted before and there are things that I have always wanted that always seem to elude me. Somewhere between those two sentiments I hope lies the answer. The low level panic… Well, that’s just one big, unshakeable, nagging, almost imperceptible question. Can I do this? And by this I don’t just mean Paris or learning French. Can I create the life that I want for myself. And, of course, the answer is yes. But right now I feel vulnerable and shy and uncertain. I will arrive wherever I’m supposed to, that much I know, but in taking the step to move here I have opened my life up to more uncertainty. Maybe that is what I needed. Maybe that is where I need to make peace right now.

It is too easy for me to to romanticize experiences in an attempt to build a linear narrative around my life. I’ve been trying not to do that as much anymore. Paris has been cinematic and magical but it’s not perfect. It’s still the next day of my life and the next and the next. All the things that preoccupy me still preocupy me that doesn’t change with a move. I feel lonely at times but it’s the same loneliness that has always been there on and off through out my life. A loneliness that is appeased by spending time by myself.

I have made friends. I have laughed. I have danced. I had a sweet romance that I wish I could have held unto but couldn’t. Now that it is gone it hurts. In my head it is easy to let it go, to say this why it came into my life and why it left. I learned a lot. I got more than I bargained for, in a good way. That boy left an unexpected emptiness. I want to say that it was nothing. I wanted it to be nothing but I miss him, and I don’t think we will ever see each other again. It is better that way. And even knowing this, a part of me hopes that there will be an email or a text, a part of me can not conceive that we will never be together again but most of me knows that that is the way it is. I loved this boy briefly, openly, and as unselfishly as I could. The intensity was returned. I think it is easy to love like that if there is an expiration date and maybe it wouldn’t have been so easy to surrender if I knew that I could have him for awhile. I know that I learned a lot about myself in this experience, about how often I try to change and force things to be things they are not. I feel loss but I hope that soon that feeling will go away.

Walking to class today I thought, feeling loss is a way of still holding on. I can’t wait for the feeling to pass and become just complete joy in having had the experience. I can apply the same sentiment to so many other moments of my life particularly in the last few years. I have lit candles at the church by my house. I have done what I do best when my heart is squished- drank, smoked, written long emails, talked about it, and walked, and walked, and walked. Was it the boy or is it that I simply want love in my life, tenderness, laughter, warm skin beside me. A little of both, more the latter I suppose. I try to let go but I think I just need to sit with the feelings and try not to force them to be one thing or another.

A few days ago I walked to the canal. I sat by the bridge where we had said goodbye and tried to release the whole experience.  I sat on a bench and watched the water flow by. Quietly and methodically I read and erased every text he sent me. Some of them were beautiful. I said a silent thank you after I erased each one. When I was done with his I did the same with all the ones I’d written him, then I erased his number. I felt lighter.

I miss Stevie. There have been moments this past week when I would have given anything to sit in her sunny living room. She wrote me a beautiful email:

You’re also, deep down, a hopeless romantic.  Don’t lose that.  It makes you special because it’s not that phony, fairy tale version of what “hopeless romantic” entails.  I think hopeless is the wrong word.  Maybe it’s more of a magical romantic, like magical realism.  You’re an Allende romantic where love is real but capable of beautiful, magical things.

She is right about me and romance. I want to keep that but I also want to shift.

I thought this move, this year, was a leap, a moment of things taking off in a new direction but maybe it is simply a crossing on a bridge. I feel I’m growing up. The boy opened my heart in a way that I didn’t even realize needed to happen. I once read somewhere that when the “new” world was discovered entries in a ship’s log book said that after weeks and weeks, or however long it had been, for the first time someone saw a branch floating in the water. A few days later a bird. These were signs that land was close by but at that time they didn’t know to read it that way. I feel that when I left Leo it was the beginning of a journey, maybe not to discover a new land but something that had always been there. There have been branches and bright stars and hummingbirds but I have yet to reach dry land. And there have been moments when I thought I would drown. Moments, like right now, when it feels that all there is is water all around me and no dry land in sight. But maybe it is just a little further past where I can see at this moment or maybe I’m not meant to reach dry land. Maybe I’m just meant to look up and be constantly in awe of the stars.

One Response to “”

  1. tearsaresalty Says:

    ‎"To become accustomed to beauty, fix your eyes on the sublime. Look neither to right nor left, much less downwards. Go forward with your head raised toward the skies, instead of bent towards the ground." -Ingres

    Keep your eyes on the sky, ana. xo