Thursday, September 11, 2008


a wish for tranquility

He bought me this beautiful bouquet as a peace offering after last weekend’s fight—something about my snapping at him when he was trying to teach me some auto-formatting tricks on Word—which went from an insignificant quibble to “it’s over” in record time. He spares no expense in making each bouquet full and dense, perfectly balanced in color and fragrance, and consequently has a good relationship with the flower vendor in the Metro here at Châtelet. Usually, the flowers are just because. I remember the days when he brought me more modest arrangements, single roses before simple dinners at my place in the fifteenth.

Our first date was up there in the clouds… He said he could make my television receive more than one channel, and he did. He loves the idea that I might have used my TV as a ploy to get him to my apartment. Now we have too many channels, most with nothing worth watching, but we do anyway. The apartment we share is twice the size of either one of our studios was back then, but some days it feels just too close, especially now that he’s been diagnosed with pet allergies… a big problem with two cats, a Shih Tzu and only 250 square feet. They haven't been allowed on the bed in months.

Tomorrow marks one year since I left California to pursue life and love in the City of Light, and I have to admit: The year is coming to a rather disappointing close. Let my try to sum up its lessons: French red tape is endless and incredibly sticky; Long distance friendships are tricky and new ones are hard to come by—especially in my small circle of writers and expats who are forever coming… and going; And love is elusive, especially, to put it bluntly, when you’re someone’s bitch—at turns and in all senses of the word.

Next week, Filou, the cats and I are headed for Los Angeles. I will attend my twenty-year class reunion and spend a lot of time with family and friends. I do have a return ticket and fully intend to use it, but having been shut down yet one more time by French government clerks, I don’t know quite how I'll go forward in this inhospitable land of far-fetched dreams and close quarters. Something's got to give, and I may very well end up back in California teaching for the spring semester. This season of turning leaves is bittersweet, to say the least.

For now, I have a few months of reflection and reminiscing to look forward to, so I will try to be more religious about my blogging. For the past year, I’ve had nothing but time. Not needing or wanting to chase down under-the-table tutoring gigs left me free to do so many things, but it always felt like there would be another endless lot of days to use wisely. Now, pondering the potentially numbered days I may have left here, I can only hope that the old “emotion recollected in tranquility” will lead to some fruitful writing, if not on this blog, then on some page somewhere.

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