Long walks in dark places

I went dancing tonight. You would have hated it. It was the kind of thing where two years ago you would have pretended to like it because going to things like that is what "fun" people do, but now that you are older and more mature you realize that people can be "fun" and still avoid stifling crowds and blaring music. Five years from now and you'll have given up being "fun" altogether and you'll be content just doing what you want.

I just went to try to meet people. People who speak the People's English. Americans, though I would have settled for a Canadian or a Brit or a Kiwi. It was an ERASMUS event and a foreign passport got you in for free. The place was called Club Mix and like any other club it was a terrible place for meeting people. Even without the language barrier everyone there seemed young, like "I have to pretend that I enjoy being here because I am fun" young, and I'm just to old for that kind of young. Then there was the crowd at the bar, which I guess is where you go when you you need to feel "fun" but you don't know how to dance. I did have one attempted conversation but the girl turned out to be French... I think... The conversation went something like...


Random-club-girl-who-just-spilled-her-beer-on-me: (Yells something inaudible/incomprehensible)

...The music was really loud, which is what happens when you go to a club to meet people. So I moved to a corner and danced by myself until the tips of my hair were dripping and I could no longer tell if the wet was beer or sweat. The thing about dancing is that you don't have to say anything... overall it was "fun" I guess.

And now the dancing is over and I don't know where I am... also I think I'm dehydrated... and I smell like an asshole. Apparently Paris shuts down around 1 AM on Thursday nights. I went to the Metro station and there was a gate covering the entrance, I didn't have any money for a cab so I just started walking. I've been walking for... a while now, and I just keep going despite the fact I have no idea where the road I'm on is leading me... one foot in front of the other, turning whenever whenever it "feels right". I'm tired, I'm thirsty, I'm lost. Maybe I should just lie down on one of the subway grates where the warm air blows up from underground and sleep for a couple hours. If I spoke enough French I could ask one of the homeless people I keep passing if they would share their bed with me.

And then I see her, dressed in her flashing, glowing, twirling neon, and standing at the end of the street ahead of me. Suddenly I know right where I am. Not physically of course, I still have no idea how to get from whatever part of Paris I am wandering through to the part where my roommate is waiting to be inconvenienced, annoyed, and woken up by my arrival. But culturally, socially, spiritually, I know right where I am. I'm standing completely exhausted, covered with a thin frozen cocktail of alcohol and perspiration, looking up at the Moulin Rouge.

And it's fitting.

Turning a corner  onto the Boulevard de Clichy, I leave the Moulin behind me and I find an expanse of sex shops, peep shows, and "private" clubs stretching in front of me, lighting my path with their blinking neon that attracts the empty, the sick, and the hungry like a moth to a flame... or maybe more like a fly to shit. This whole street reeks of shit, of filth, of the dregs that are left once you take all of the meaning out of love. I see a group of old men lurking outside a club, a younger man exits a theater and slips into the night with his eyes glued to the sidewalk. I pass some women and try to avoid eye contact. A man approaches a woman in front of me, they walk off together. It looked so easy. What did they say to each other? If there was a girl on this street not too old, not too young, maybe just trying to pay her way through school... maybe we could just talk about her classes, that might be nice for her... Do you think any prostitutes in Paris speak English?

Am I really that lonely? Sorry, let me rephrase that, I AM REALLY THAT LONELY. It's not really the way I pictured loosing my virginity. Smelling like an asshole, making love to corpse, someone who would rather get paid fuck than to talk because it takes less effort to just lie there, and I'm to tired to keep it stiff but I'm still struggling to climax, struggling to have an orgasm, struggling to convince myself that I am somewhere else, with someone else... with you.

It's cold. Salty icicles are beginning to form on the end of my nose and eyelashes. But I am to tired to care. And I'm too tired to ignore the real reason that I am here. The reason that I am unhappy. It's not just you. There is this hole in my... in me. Sure, part of it is yours, you left it with me when you removed yourself from my life, but I dug it deeper. Maybe I was trying to excavate every remaining part of you, trying to dig you out of my heart entirely, but unfortunately I found it hard to separate what parts were you and what parts were me. For a while I was a gaping absence of a man but the thing about holes is that they never stay empty for long. If you do not fill them they fill themselves, and my hole is full. Full of black. Full of shit. Full of hate and regret and frozen beer/sweat/tears cocktail. My hole is full of emptiness... which, sadly, I am learning is not a lack of something, but an overabundance of nothing. And so I've filled my hole, partly with the things I found to replace you and partly with the things I neglected to, I filled it until it was over my head, trying to drown the pain, but only succeeding in drowning myself and in making myself sick. And I am sick. I am disgusted. I want to throw up the entire last year, vomit all of the slop that I have wallowed in for far to long. Start over... fresh.... is that why I came to Paris in the first place...

What really pisses me off is that the only reason I want to turn my life around is for you. Somewhere deep in there I am convinced that if I can become good enough or successful enough that you will take me back. No, not that you will take me back, that you will want me back.

...and so I ran across half the world, all the time I was delusional enough to believe that I was not running away from you but somehow running toward you. But now it's time to stop running. Time to stop pretending that I am happy here. Maybe it's time for me to just come home...



Moulin Rouge! (Widescreen Edition)

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