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Day 176: Leave With A Bang.


Can't a girl just leave Paris quietly without something happening?

I left work on Friday at 5 pm and skipped the gym to focus on organizing my things before this mornings 9 am flight to New York. I stopped at Franprix for wine and the Chinese traiteur for take-out. Aurel was borrowing his company's car to drive me to Charles de Gaulle and was stuck at his office later than any French person would want to on a Friday night, exceeding his cushy 39.5 hour work week. His co-worker said that he would be at the office at 6:30 to give him the keys which in French time means leaving where he was at 6:30. Annoying.

He got to my place around 9:30 and my things were in order, my apartment was tidy, passport was out and the Chinese take-out that was absolutely disgusting was in the garbage. We were famished and needed something to stick to the wine that was burning a hole in our empty stomachs. A quick Friday night meal is pizza, what was I thinking in getting Chinese? That's Sundays lazy night dinner! My shoddy internet in my apartment wasn't connecting me to find the number to call so we decided to not be such lazy fat-asses and walk down to Pink Flamingo and pick it up ourselves.

We arrived and it was surprisingly not busy, so we decided to grab the table for two by the door and to enjoy our last night together for a week. We ordered my new favorite pie Le Gandhi and split a Pink Flamingo house beer.

I was feeling uneasy and wasn't sure why. Even Aurel noticed that I was a bit jumpy and hyper-aware of my surroundings. Perhaps I was anxious about traveling, packing, the airport? Doubtful because travel doesn't usually make me anxious. I've traveled the world on stand-by leaving me vulnerable to getting stuck in airports in foreign countries overnight, staying in seedy airport motels in Middle-America, being tortured by gate agents, being hazed by flight attendants, being vomited on by unaccompanied underage passengers sitting next to me, on top of the suspense of not knowing if I will get on the flight or not. I'm a tough traveler with patience made of steel, so this anxiety was questionable.

Our pizza arrived; steaming and smelling like delicious baba ganoush goodness when someone briskly walked through the door going straight to the take-out counter. I know this pace, this urgency, this intensity. Monsieur Flâneur. Damn you, internet. I swear he was the cause of my anxiety. It's as if instinctively I knew we'd cross paths that night. And I'm not saying it in a kindred spirit soulmate way.

I guess this day was bound to happen and I hate to admit it but my heart was pounding. Not enough time has passed for it to be just that; 'the past' but just enough time has passed for our encounter to be uncomfortable. In an essence, we're strangers now. His brother walked in and met him at the counter and watching their interaction with each other was like taking a time machine back one year. Had none of this happened, I probably would have been with them or in the peripheral of this Friday night activity. It's like that movie Sliding Doors where you see what happens in both scenarios of Gwyneth Paltrow's character. Ella 1 would be drained and miserable in her relationship with MF and would pass Ella 2 who would be with a man more suitable and is more independent and focusing on her own growth, goals, and progress. Clearly, I prefer Ella 2 but can't help but look back sometimes and think of the sad and useless Ella 1. Unlike Gwyneth, both Ellas have the same haircut and color.

The restaurant is minuscule and as soon as he turned around to leave with his take-out box, he would see me. I ran some options in my head; I could acknowledge him and try my best at small talk and introduce him to my new boyfriend or just pretend to not see him and look away. 

I went for option two. We're not 'there' yet. We're not enemies but we're certainly not friends. I shadowed my face with my hair and looked in the other direction as he walked towards our table heading for the exit. As he passed, he looked at the girl with the mounds of curly brown hair and did a double take once realized it was me and followed my eyes in the mirror's reflection. The stare held between us lasted no more than 3 seconds but felt like minutes. I knew exactly what he was saying to me with his eyes that were growing darker with anger. How could I be out on a date with someone else while he still hanging out with his brother? How dare I move on before him. I'm such a connasse. We may be strangers now but I still know him and his carnal thought process very well. I looked away and he continued out the door, slamming it behind him.

Of course, I told Aurel what was going on and excused myself for reacting even in the slightest bit. It haunted me for the rest of the night where communicating with Aurel was beyond difficult, especially in French. I just wanted to lock myself in my thoughts and self-obsess over why this had affected me so much. I felt guilty for even caring. I'm supposed to be moved on and I am. I just can't help but think that a year ago today, I was planning my life with a person who I was now trying to avoid eye contact with at a pizza parlor. It's all so sad.

These little earthquakes always seem to happen right before I go to New York where I can emotionally shake it off and come back to Paris refreshed. I'm on the plane now and the woman next to me who is a famous director at a major fragrance and cosmetics company keeps looking at my washed out and broken out pasty skin. She just recommended some products to me. I just ordered a glass of wine.

Pink Flamingo
105, rue Vieille du Temple
75003, Paris

5 comments:

  1. Ella 2 for the win. I hope you get lots and lots of American hugs this week. <3

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  2. Ughh so he lives in your neighborhood? Well, it was bound to happen sometime. Sucks it had to be before your trip and while with Séb but ah well. Don't beat yourself up over your emotions; of course they are there, it is only normal! It is a good sign. Yes, you are getting over him but, still, it wasn't that long ago and I don't know if these things ever get to the point of being completely sans emotion. If I was in the same situation now, even though I broke up with my ex years ago, I would still feel emotions (not for him, but, you know; weird and tense). You are doing so well and have such a nice bf now, and in NYC! Enjoy!!!

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  3. No matter where you are in life, there is nothing harder/weirder than seeing a love (a true love) post break-up. I feel for you and all emotions are valid. It doesn't take away from what you have now. Clearly you're a strong woman and can handle mostly anything with grace!

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  4. @MCJ - Thanks! I'm with my mom now and it's exactly what I need!

    @Dana - He lives in the Marais, I know, how annoying, right? I'm leaving the hood this month and am relieved! This was bound to happen and it was just awful. I felt bad for Seb because he saw how upset I was. But whatever, ça arrive!

    @Kristin - Thanks. This means a lot to me. It was tough and hopefully the next time will be easier. Paris is such a teeny, teeny town.

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  5. Be thankful you aren't in Grenoble because it's REALLY small! I can't imagine having a breakup here.. many in NYC but, as you know, it's quite big and I thankfully never bumped into anyone painful from the past. Yes, it will be emotionally healthier for you to not live in the Marais, as much as you probably love the neighborhood! I hope your new place & neighborhood is lovely. I hope you are okay and if you ever want to private chat/talk on the phone let me know. xxxxo Dana

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