WHEN IN PARIS

EACH TIME MY HEART IS BROKEN IT MAKES ME FEEL MORE ADVENTUROUS.

My eyes are muted grey today. They used to be shiny light blue like the clear blue summer sky. But they change all the time now, depending on the environment I’m in. They are indiscriminate. They’re still specific but already disloyal, so it is hard to trust…

It is hard to trust him although he seems to be like a nice and honest guy. He reads Seneca, plays piano and is full of power and energy. He’s like a Roman soldier, able to pull me up and carry wherever he wants to. Maybe even to drop me into the Seine river if I’ll misbehave during this date. He’s not your usual skinny Parisian guy. He’s the conqueror, and I like him. As we sit here on Pont Neuf and drink wine from Chablis, he suddenly asks me whether I did some MDMA, in reference to my once again dilated pupils. And there’s no shame, nor any excitement, it’s just a casual question. Just as casual as it would be popping some ecstasy pills on a Friday night before dating someone for the first time. Honey, did you know that there are other factors that can cause pupil dilation besides drugs, physical or psychological pleasure for example? Maybe you’re simply turning me on? This all has been discovered and proved back in the 1970’s. Niles Bernick’s studies showed that both men and women get dilated pupils when they are sexually aroused. Research lead by G. K. Poock showed that when our minds are loaded to 125% of their capacity, the pupils get constricted. This wine is not working, my brain is still working and I’m still super-conscious about the situation we’re in. It’s not an extase, I’m just interested in what you’re saying. You are interesting to me, but… Whether or not the eyes are windows to the soul, the pupils are certainly windows to the mind. And my mind doesn’t let me trust you.

I just don’t trust anyone anymore.

Although I tried, I tried to trust and love so many times, so many guys. I tried not to mix the love and the career, then I tried to build them together. It didn’t work out, and once again my ambitions saved me. So, I moved, so I’m here now, in Paris.

I lighted up my cigar, and meditated in an unhealthy way. I felt relaxed because this bullshit on another continent was over, and I remembered the moments and words, wise words said to me by the people who cared. And then my phone made a sound. It was an iMessage from Patrick: “Gabrielle! It’s time for an update. What’s happening? Where are you now?”

Now… Now is an interesting concept I thought. Physically I’m now in Paris. Mentally and spiritually a bit away, but certainly on my way. Away, because I feel that it is easier to play a supporting role in this movie of life at the moment, my moment side role is less dramatic, less serious, it’s plain and convenient. No flames, no games. I thought about our last conversation with bitter-sweetness. I remembered your voice, loud discomfort, and hanging up. My radical transparency made you feel uncomfortable, and I didn’t even love you, I never did… I even don’t know whether I liked you. But I was certainly amused and seduced. I loved what you represented to me.

I cut my cigar. I didn’t want to smoke anymore. As I didn’t want to drink coffee anymore. I put on Lykke Li’s album and started preparing for tomorrow’s meeting. Career adventures and ambitions, my mind and life savers. And for a cliché scene, as I was dancing and singing along “I’m Good, I’m Gone” I felt so right in this moment, being on this path. It was a musical equivalent of a shower for me. A fresh course of thinking and feeling rushed over me. And I didn’t care anymore. Most probably we won’t see each other again anymore, so take care.

 

I continued my nomadic lifestyle, people watching and not judging, I forgave more easily and I didn’t put on any pressure. And if somebody was over reacting, was too exotic, neurotic or erotic, I pressed ‘delete’ and forgot. I didn’t care about the truth of others anymore, but I maintained my own frank essence. My strong and honest essence. I maintained myself and progressed in my own way. And I was grateful, I was certainly very grateful at that time. I started getting more freelance writing submissions and my life went on.

Once I had to write a short story about the concept of joy. ‘So what is joy?’ I thought. It’s not only a classic perfume of Jean Patou… And suddenly you came up to my mind, out of nowhere. I remembered so clearly the moment when I asked you to look me into the eyes, and you refused. You refused! I asked ‘Why!?’ and you said to my surprise that it makes you vulnerable. And then you decided to lie, you lied about everything during your well-fabricated performance in the hotel room, because I couldn’t catch your sight. So, I thought of joy…

Joy is freedom. Freedom of self, perceptions and actions. Joy is about the opening, about making yourself vulnerable, it’s about getting closer. Being able to smell the lightest scent of the other. Joy is honesty and transparency. Joy is personal. Joy is about looking each other deeply into the eyes. Joy is trust, a trustful deep sight straight into one’s eyes. Joy is about the touch without resistance. Joy is a dance, a shared rhythm, shared motions and emotions. You can detect the Joy from the sight into one’s eyes.

And as I wrote this introduction, I felt sad. I felt sad about you, I felt sad about the people who were scared to experience the simple joys in life. Susan Sontag said that to write is to know something. I stopped. Did I actually know what joy is? Did I know anything in this life at all? I decided to go for a run and postpone my admission about joy, what seemed to be first-place an easy piece.

I came back and received another message from Patrick:
“Man is what he believes wrote Anton Chekhov.”
I answered:
“That’s true. So, what you believe will happen within next 5 years?”
Patrick answered me without a pause:
“Year 1: go full-time internally at a brand or start-up I love,
Year 2: convince you to move to NYC,
Year 3: start our secret art show,
Year 4: convince you to move to the East Village from Brooklyn,
Year 5: make our first million.”

New York… I’ve been thinking about this city every now and then. And I thought about you again. I remembered how happy you were after buying your new Ducati. I remembered how we drove around the city, my hair carelessly blown by the wind, as I breathed in the smell of your leather jacket and hugged you strongly.
“Everything alright, babe?” you asked.
“Mhm,” I murmured, but I knew that nothing was right. Instead, I decided to enjoy the moment. This was the moment of joy – you, me, NYC, and the scent of a warm summer night in the city. 

 

“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”
– Confucius

 

Me and Patrick, we are different although we view things in the same way, our lives, our lifestyles are very different. And most of all I cherished my freedom and travels, new meetings and greetings, and the joy of moving around and exploring. My joy right now is my freedom. And in Paris I felt this perpetual presence of this sublime joy, so I decided to stay and look around for a while. But little did I know that nothing was simple in Paris.
Paris was an old city.

 

…to be continued
Third Chapter from my book “Notes of Nomad”