I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful and yet so unaware of it

I love Paris in the springtime. I love Paris in the fall.  I think you get where I’m going with this. On Sunday evening, I board a flight to that Gallic capital for a rendezvous with ma cherie Melisa. For her it’s a stop over on her way back to Kabul. For me, it’s a visit to another life and place. Where I am a local and where I feel most at home.

I searched for a home my whole life up until this May. On the fucking nose. For forty years I wandered the desert until I found my place here. The promise land. During those trying times, Paris was the only place that gave me the inkling that I was more than just a backwater rube with a good French accent and provincial ideas, iterated by the millions in other backwaters all over the world. Paris was where I was urbane. Where I fit like hand in glove.

I have a Paris tattoo, which in itself can lean towards the trite and expected. But mine is a reminder to be my best self because I could always be that in Paris.

And again I return in a matter of hours. I haven’t been a bit anxious about the trip. Normally I plan within an inch of my life, but this time I just want to live in that skin. To close my eyes and hear the resonance of sounds echoing off stuccoed buildings and cobblestone streets in the Marais. The deja vu I first felt there in 2004 has now become the knowingness of having been there.

I should preface this next part with this opening salvo. The men in my life can be categorized into the following groups: the ones I’ve forgotten; the ones I’d like to forget; the ones worth knowing (as I write this at 7:22 a.m. two have just WhatsApped me); and the ones who are never far from my mind.

That last category is probably one of the few testaments to the fact that this tin woodsman has a heart. She does. And sometimes it aches unnecessarily. Right now it aches for The Israeli. This whole week I’ve been thinking of him. I’ve sworn to myself twice now that I’d forget him. I honestly shouldn’t remember him. I don’t have much to show in the way of interaction with him. He hasn’t WhatsApped me since October. If I didn’t have physical evidence of his existence, I would believe that I’d made it all up in my mind. Although I’ve never been that good of a fiction writer.

Long story long, I was at a house party right now and looked him up on his brother’s Instagram. I let him know I was on my way to Paris a while back and then I sent him a video letting him know I was thinking of him for some witchy reason. I didn’t expect a response. But there he was, the top picture. With a full beard. Beautiful him. In Paris two days ago. Because of course.

I won’t see him, of course. That’s not how things work. And, as much as I search my soul to see this as a fruitless obsession, I know that something was real. Something was real.

I have a photograph of him sleeping. I took it October 2018. I like to take photographs of people when they’re fast asleep. God, he was beautiful. And for a fleeting moment, I got to bask in it.

Paris is going to be fun. I’m ready to go back. Part of me wishes the ache would dull. And part of me knows that this ache is how I know I still have a heart.

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

She’s forty-one and her daddy still calls her, ‘baby’
All the folks around Brownsville say she’s crazy
‘Cause she walks down town with a suitcase in her hand
Looking for a mysterious dark-haired man

In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on
Then a man of low degree stood by her side
And promised her he’d take her for his bride

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

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