The Marks & Spencer Effect

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My life has been on hold.

I am intellectually aware that it is moving towards some kind of direction, but I quit wondering whether I really choose that direction or not. Do I have any power upon what’s happening to me in the end?

Everything has been feeling on hold since I collapsed in Ushuaia at the beginning of the year. I haven’t been able to write about it yet. Ushuaia has been by far the most extreme event of my life, almost like a near-death experience. My adrenaline is taking ages to come down.

What’s the point of extreme experiences after all? I am not even sure that it helped me get to know myself better. I’ve been stuck outside my body since then. Nothing went back to “normal” after Ushuaia. Any sense of normalcy has deserted my life, my expectations and any perspective there is to have on that side of the planet.

Many blog posts ideas ran through my head over the last months, but it has felt kamikaze to share my intimate thoughts with the rest of the world since I’ve been living in the Motherland (aka France). I’ve wanted to write posts called Gasoline, Hell Is Having To Please PeopleMetaphysics of The Lollipop, Secret Garden, and Your Comfort Zone Is A Bitch. But I didn’t and it’s OK.

Most mornings I feel like I will never write, dance or fuck ever again; those things that used to make me feel ultimately alive. I’m moderately alive, but I’m not feeling borderline either, and that’s probably a sign of progress towards the sense of serenity I’ve been pursuing all my life.

This thing happened the other day. I was walking in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with my friend J from Canada. We met sixteen years ago; I hadn’t seen him in four years.

We entered the Marks & Spencer store in Saint-Germain covered market and tears came to my eyes. Can you believe it? I instantly got moved to tears by Marks & Fucking Spencer. That’s the bottom of shame.

It reminded me of London. It reminded me of my London life. It’s not that I miss London and London people in such extent that I would cry all over it. Of course I do. But I miss my London self even more. Walking down those shop aisles, I remembered what I used to pick from the shelves when I was my London self. I remembered what my London self was eating.

I put my finger on the core of what I had been missing all those months. It wasn’t a job, or a group of people, or a person, or a place, or the architecture of a city. I miss the side of me that was free, adventurous, sexual and creative. Where have I gone? I forgot what makes my heart beat and my body thrill. I guess I’ve been building up again some ground under my feet after it all fell apart in international chaos. You can’t embrace freedom when you’re not even able to walk straight. But it’s taking so long and I’m impatient to be born again.

The bottom line is: I don’t like my French self, my “back home” self. What home? I don’t like my personality here. I don’t like the way I speak. I don’t like hearing my own voice. I don’t like the way I’m perceived. I am feeling self-conscious and it makes me be the dull version of myself, like my wildness was forever tamed. How do you recreate the magic in the city where you are from?

I want to go travel again. Alone. Alone always. I want to drive fast and I want some wind in my hair. I want to stop in odd towns and make weirdos dance for their artistry can be more gigantic than anything you & I have seen so far. I want to do epic self-portraits in stunning landscapes that would represent for real who I really am and not what people think they’re seeing because that’s just their own projection and their own issue most of the time, and I am now done with that. I want to develop my photographic blog which I will call Skin Is The Deepest and for which I had such a strong call when I was trekking in Patagonia. I visualised it so clearly.

And above all, I need to have the courage to love and make love again and run the risk of inner devastation that goes with it.

Who would have thought that picking a mango and crayfish salad from Marks & Spencer would have triggered such philosophical introspection on my urge to break my love shell. Ha! I’m terrified.

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I Wish I Was You

My trips around the world are officially over. (Till next time).

Things are changing. My 95 year-old grandfather stops obsessing about me getting a steady job and tells me I must write about my travels and the people I meet. He said: “I don’t worry about you finding a job cause I know you will. I’m not talking about jobs. I’m talking about your intellectual arousal.” Bless him. I promised him solennellement that I was going to publish my Patagonia adventures to record that big human drama theatre.

I’m moving back to Paris. I almost have a French bank account and I almost have a flat. It wasn’t planned, but one random fact led to another, and why not after all. I didn’t know what else to do with myself: no one or nothing is expecting me anywhere. Circumstances paved my way to a sofa in the 13ème arrondissement that should soon become my “permanent” home.

That’s the longest period of ‘homelessness’ I’ve ever experienced. It will be six months on the 5th of April that I don’t really have a home. The other sleepless night, instead of counting sheep, I counted the number of beds and sofas I’ve slept on since I moved out of my London warehouse last October. It came up to 37 different places.

I used my hot wax machine again this morning to put my pilosity in order. I was shaving with shitty razors while I was gypsying around the world. I thought: “Hot wax means that the nomadic period is behind”. It’s the ultimate stepping stone to settling down again. Cheers to that.

I haven’t lived in my home country for seven years. I was a student and a baby queer back then. The atmosphere and social contexts were different. I’m disconnected. I walked to the social services office today to claim unemployment allowance and my shoes cost about half the amount of a monthly pension. My days of designer clothes may be behind but I couldn’t care less. I knew what I was signing for when I quit my comfortable life. The future is uncertain, but one thing I’m sure of is that whatever happens my fashion will remain.

On my way to the social services in my fancy shoes, I walked past a famous school of graphic design and I spontaneously walked in to drop my life model business card. I used to model in art schools to pay for university. I have missed the atmosphere of drawing classes, the smell and sound of charcoal, the density of the concentration in the studio. I love the challenge of being energetic in stillness, capturing the attention of an audience by giving them everything I have. Life modelling is the best job I’ve ever had, cause it’s the only job where I’ve had the space to expose myself fully and stand in front of people completely as I am. I didn’t have to conform.

I refuse to complain, but things have been far from easy in the last months. It’s challenging to find what to cling to when you have no daily habits and can’t find reassurance in material things. I’ve had to reinvent myself every single day. I open my eyes every morning and think: “How am I going to use my free self wisely today in the broad wild world full of possibilities?” It’s like heaven and hell in the same sentence. Freedom is terrifying. 

Yet, in the middle of my deliberately chosen struggles, I’ve been told several times by people in more comfortable positions that they would like to live like me. I’m told “I wish I was you”, “I wish I had your life”.

This is raising an infinity of questions in my head. How do we perceive other people’s life? How do you make total freedom and security co-exist? How do you find comfort in a nomadic life? How do you thrive and find peace as a creative, non-conforming, super sensorial queer woman in today’s world? How do you keep refusing to get back on the beaten path even when you’ve exhausted all your inner resources? Like the founder of the 5 Rhythms, Gabrielle Roth, used to say, it takes such great discipline to be a free spirit.

I really aspire to become the serene version of myself now. Maybe I’ll even settle down for good. Envy is not part of my mind set, but I envy people who have reached some kind of emotional stability. I am promising to myself that this period of time will be the last roller coasters of my life.

Glamorous Homelessness

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I’ve disappeared.

Some people have been asking me where in the world I currently am. I also have a hard time following my own peregrinations. Things didn’t quite turn out the way I planned.

So. What happened?

I last posted in November from Buenos Aires, at the beginning of my Latin America adventures.

Then.

In a nutshell: I went to Brazil. I proposed someone to marry me. She said yes. Actually, she said “Of course!” And everything collapsed in front of my eyes in the course of 7 days. I left Brazil at the beginning of 2017 to explore Patagonia alone. I had big highs and big lows. I hit the bottom of sadness as I hit the bottom of the world, in Ushuaia. Because I couldn’t go any more down geographically and emotionally, I knifed my way to the surface again.

From the Land of Fire, I jumped on a plane to Buenos Aires. There was a heat wave in the metropolis. One day, as I was walking to the Recoleta cemetery to visit Evita’s grave, I was hit by the certitude that my trip was over. I had seen what I wanted to see and lived what I had to live.

I prepared my emergency exit, spending hours figuring out how to get my ass to Europe ASAP. Anywhere in Europe. The cheapest destination occurred to be Paris, my birth place. The day after, I was flying back “home” on a two day journey via Atlanta and New York. Trump was omnipresent in the background of my US stops. I realised it wasn’t a joke anymore.

I landed in Paris-Orly on a Tuesday morning at the end of January. It was my first time landing in my home country since 2009. First time I was lining up in the “Citizens” passport check in 8 years. There was a cold wave. I had no clothes with me, just a little backpack, cause I have left all my stuff in Brazil. My belongings are scattered across 3 countries.

I contacted a very few friends to open me their door because I don’t have a home right now anywhere in the world.

My friend C welcomed me with croissants for my back home breakfast and gave me tights, socks and an adaptor to charge my phone. That was 23 days ago.

Since then, everyone has been donating me clothes. Beautiful ones. So I feel like a super glamor homeless.

I’ve been hanging out in people’s homes while they’re working. I’m offering myself the luxury to process my emotions as a full time job. I’m not trying to distract myself. I barely go see things or do anything. I’m spending most of my time seating alone to preserve the exact nature of my intense emotions. The last few months have been the most extraordinary, challenging and earth-shattering of my life.

I’m writing this in London, at the Circus Cafe in Crouch End. London is one of my energetic centres. There’s 6 years of my life here. I sleep in a whole lot of different beds and sofas. I love it. I am surrounded by an army of good souls who open me their door and provide me with everything I need, may it be a bed for the night, breakfast, words of comfort or Dragon Red Chanel nail polish. In exchange, I tell life stories, listen to life stories, and do the washing up.

I’m also hanging out in London to consult a transgender woman therapist. She’s bad ass. I pay £97 per hour and she holds the sessions in socks. I take off my shoes too and we become super casual. She told me that she revealed herself in Berlin in the 80s, “like David Bowie”. Everyday after work, she would take off her male suit and hang out at the Kit Kat Klub where she grew to be the woman she was born to be. I adore her already. She says that I become animated when I talk about my writing. She told me: “You’re going to write that book and I want a copy.” So I must do it.

I’m going to experiment glamorous homelessness in Berlin next. I’m going on Tuesday. I have no plans. I want to spend my days in free art galleries and write my book in cafés. And maybe reconnect with my queer dancer late at night in interlope clubs?

This is my life as of now. I love it. I love my life. I’ve never felt that much centred and that much awake in the present moment. I know I’m on the right track, as in MY track.

I’ll return to a more structured life sooner or later. I was proposed a flat-share in Paris. I said YES! So, by the spring, all my scattered belongings will converge to the 13th arrondissement. I’ll store my suitcases under my bed and I’ll have an address and a job again.

I’m truly excited about that perspective.

Till then. Anything can happen. I’m wide open. Life is fab.

Love Letter To Paris

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That picture was taken on my way to the Bataclan last March, for a night called Crazyvores, a dance party with hits of the 80s. That’s the first and only time I’ve ever been there. I burnt the dance floor with my beautiful gay friends and I smoked outside with strangers who criticised my outfit. I can’t stop thinking about that typical soirée parisienne since Friday. There was a famous choreographer, Kamel Ouali, dancing in the crowd that night. He works for cheesy TV shows. After the events, the stupid thought that I could have been killed near Kamel Ouali if the attacks had taken place a few months ago crossed my mind.

Just like everyone in my circle, I have a personal story with most of the places that were targeted in the attacks of November 13th. I have nothing sensational to add compared to what was already said on TV, in the newspaper or in real life. “It could have been me”, or my sister, or my best friends, because I was hanging out in those neighborhoods which were the heartbeat of my Parisian life when I was living there and when I go back to visit. In those streets whose names are all familiar and where people like me got shot, I used to chill, walk, run, often very late at night or very early in the morning because I am a party girl. Rue Bichat, where two restaurants got attacked, I used to donate my blood. How ironic.

The victims whose face and story are gradually appearing in the news are for the most part 30 something, stylish, educated, arty. Like me. Almost all of them belonged to the creative class as my MA supervisor used to say, had stunningly interesting careers. Almost all of them are also incredibly beautiful, as if the most brilliant and attractive representatives of my generation had been casted for death. It feels like we naturally get more moved and disturbed when someone who dies was young and beautiful.

Therefore, although I’ve been a Londoner for five years – it was the fifth anniversary of my arrival in London three days before the events – all that’s happening to the people of Paris feels really close to me.

I love Paris.

I am regularly asked if I prefer London or Paris – what a silly question – and I always answer the same ready-made formula: “What’s not to love about Paris?” Then I nuance my argument and I explain that my life in London is economically, socially and fashionly easier, but that nothing makes me happier than reading Libération while drinking a café crème on the terrasse of a brasserie.

I love Paris.

Of all the places where I’ve lived, Paris is the only one where I ever had a legitimate sense of belonging, where I wasn’t too much on a “WTF am I doing here” mode, since I am kinda from there. Hang on. I am not a real Parisian for the real Parisians, as I was born OUTSIDE the périph (the ring road which separates Paris from its chic or less chic suburbs). I was born in Châtenay-Malabry and grew up in Meudon, which are both in the South West posh in a cool way suburb #9-2. Each suburb has a number which conveys different stereotypes.

Up the sidewalk of the house where I grew up in Meudon, if you stand on a certain spot, you can catch sight of the Eiffel Tower in the horizon. It probably marked my imagination as a kid. The Iron Lady was somewhere in the background of my childhood. So, overall, after living for 6 years in Paris suburb, 12 years in the Province (which is how everything that’s not Paris is called), 11 years abroad and only 3 years in Paris, I have the arrogance to identify as a Parisian, and I don’t think it will ever change.

Because I love Paris and Paris will remain.

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This Is Why I Love Sleeping Alone (Bucharest)

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Bucharest has two faces.

I discovered the city in the winter of 2013, for my first ever business trip. I remember being mainly struck by the monumental buildings of its communist heritage. I wrote to a friend back then:

“I love eastern Europe, that’s it. I’m finding here the feeling that I looked for in Berlin and never found: the traces of communism. The trauma still feels vivid and I am drawn to that pain. I can’t express how much poetry I see in the nostalgia of that failed utopia. Bucharest is such a strange mix of romantic architecture and USSR disproportioned crumbling buildings. Their buildings were just like their politics: megalomaniac. On one side of a street you’ll find a brand new Burberry shop and opposite to it stands a palace in ruins.

I love Romanians, they are adorable people. I don’t know how to phrase my affection without sounding like a contemptful Westerner. But they just look so humble in their often outdated clothes. It touches me to the core (I don’t know why?)

I wandered in the old town tonight in the melted snow but I haven’t discovered any treasure yet – just a global feeling of comprehension.

I am writing this in an executive room of the Athénée Hilton Hotel. It used to be a marble palace, now it is located near the Square of Revolution. How ironic again… I totally identify to that contrast. The job is cool, my PowerPoints sometimes suck but I am glad to be here.”

I came back for a business trip in the early days of September this year. The summer weather was sticky and lazy. I wandered the paved streets of the old city in light dresses. Bucharest suddenly felt Mediterranean – miles away from my cold and grey memories. Was it really the same place? Where was all the nostalgia gone? I was feeling like in Lisbon, or even Paris – some locals told me afterwards that Bucharest used to be known as the Paris of Eastern Europe. There is indeed a strong Haussmannian influence in the architecture, and the street name plates are identical to the Paris ones, green and blue. It is easy to go around and read the signs if you speak at least one latin language, which enhanced my feeling of belonging.

It was my first summer rush of the year, my first deep feeling of vacation. Bucharest inundated me with warmth and joy this time. My senses came back to life after months of coma. We stayed late at night on restaurant terraces, enjoying Romanian red wine and fabulous sea food. We had dinner in an abandoned villa turned into a restaurant. Barely no furniture and flaky walls. It stole my heart. Fuck cosiness.

The monumental & megalomaniac communist buildings were still there, of course, but they captured my imagination in a different way under the sunshine. They seemed to belong to the past whilst the people passing by were looking at a glowing future. How does the sunshine change everything, even the remnants of decades of dictatorship?

Late at night, I wouldn’t turn on the light when I was coming back to my posh hotel. Alone in my big room, I was crawling up onto the window ledge, leaning my head against the massive pane, ten floors above the city. I was trying to absorb the vibe of this unique place, picturing what it is like to be from here. On the left, there was a busy street with modern shops and bright lights. On the right, there was a huge abandoned square and gloomy building with a sign ‘On sale‘. It looked like disaffected offices. My imagination was roaming in the dark. I could save up and buy that building. It was probably affordable. Then, I could spend every summer living there on a different floor each year. I could create an art space. Dance studios. I got all intense about my random dream.

I thought of how much I was enjoying that moment, that life style, being granted with enthusiasm for all the possibilities out there, all the things I don’t know I am passionate about yet. I wondered what I would have been doing if I was with someone in that hotel room. At best, having sex, and at worst, sleeping. Apart from sex, how do you get intense with someone else? And when sex starts fading out, how do you sustain the intensity, not to get dragged into boredom? Maybe I just haven’t found the way. But how could anyone make me feel more excited about my life than I was alone in that perfect instant?

This is why I love sleeping alone.

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Portraits of Frenchies #2 : La Fille qui n’aimait pas gâcher

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Je ne connais que des gens inhabituels.

Ma copine C² fait partie de ces quelques personnes que je vois toujours dans une ville différente, parce que nous sommes toutes deux en refonte perpétuelle de nos aspirations. 

Nous nous sommes connues à Londres, où j’habitais depuis environ un an, tandis qu’elle était venue étudier l’histoire de l’art dans le cadre d’un échange Erasmus. Elle écrivait un mémoire sur le motif du pont dans la peinture de Monet. Une amie commune, Σ², nous avait organisé une “blind date” amicale dans l’idée qu’on aurait des atomes crochus.

C² est repartie vivre à Paris, où nous nous sommes croisées quelques fois, mais pas tant que ça non plus. On a notamment manifesté ensemble pour soutenir le mariage gay. 

En septembre dernier, j’ai eu de ses nouvelles. Elle partait passer trois mois à New York, seulement deux semaines après avoir emménagé avec son amoureux à Paris. “Il a dû être touché”, me suis-je dit. Et j’ai aussi vachement rigolé, parce que je trouve ça génial de commencer la vie commune sur des bases claires. Le hasard avait voulu que je séjourne à New York en même temps qu’elle. Mi-octobre, on s’est donc retrouvées dans l’appart de Brooklyn où je passais la semaine, pour manger des pâtes en forme de lama. Le samedi suivant on a fait un pèlerinage au Zabar’s , l’épicerie fine chic et kasher de Broadway, parce que c’est là que Meg Ryan faisait ses courses dans “Vous avez un message”. C² avait la liste de tous les lieux que l’on voit dans le film. Ne me demandez pas pourquoi.

Elle a décidé au pied levé de venir m’accompagner à Philadelphie où je partais quelques jours plus tard. “Peut-être qu’on fera le tour de tous les lieux que l’on voit dans le film avec Tom Hanks”, ai-je pensé. Comme je ne savais pas encore où j’allais habiter (classique), elle a eu la bonté de nous dégotter un AirBnB avec la déco la plus moche du monde, mais l’hôte le plus chou qui soit. Du coup, on ne faisait pas trop attention aux dessins de fleurs fanées accrochés au mur (véridique).

C’est à Philadelphie qu’on est vraiment devenues amies, parce qu’on ne s’étaient jamais vues plusieurs jours consécutifs avant ce voyage. On a vraiment beaucoup ri. On se moquait de tous les objets moches de la chambre où on dormait, et Dieu sait que c’était une joie sans cesse renouvelée même après plusieurs jours.

C’est durant ce séjour que j’ai percé une des caractéristiques de C². Elle adore récupérer et elle déteste gâcher, surtout en matière de nourriture. Elle appelle ça “faire son intendance”. On était raccord là-dessus, parce que je ne suis pas la dernière pour le système D et les trucs gratos, mais je dois avouer que sur ce coup-là j’ai trouvé mon maître (je n’ose pas dire “ma maîtresse”, sinon ça fait bizarre.)

Déjà, C² est arrivée de New York par le bus avec un reste de quiche dans son sac à main. “Sinon elle n’aurait plus été bonne à mon retour”, m’a-t-elle expliqué, alors qu’elle prêchait une convertie. Quand on est allées à l’American Diner du quartier – où soit dit en passant on a passé des soirées mémorables – elle mangeait le ketchup à la petite cuillère. Là, j’ai commencé à la mettre en boîte: “Ben oui, c’est cadeau, autant en profiter!”

Le meilleur restait à venir. Un soir, nous nous sommes retrouvées à la fin de notre journée philadelphienne respective. Je lui ai raconté ma journée d’atelier de 5 Rhythms dance et mon attirance pour le prof de yoga gay dont j’adorais la couleur de peau. Elle, elle m’a raconté avec des yeux pétillants qu’elle avait pénétré dans un jardin communautaire où elle avait cueilli du persil et des tomates, et que ça avait bien agrémenté son pique-nique. C’est à cet instant qu’elle a accédé au rang de mes idoles. Dans la foulée, elle m’a dit qu’un de ses lieux parisiens préférés était le cimetière Saint-Vincent, à Montmartre, et qu’elle y avait déjà cueilli des figues avec lesquelles elle avait fait de la confiture maison. Suite à cette fabuleuse anecdote, je l’ai rebaptisée “La Cueilleuse urbaine”.

Après ces quelques jours enchanteurs, je suis rentrée à Londres et elle à New York.

A mon retour, j’ai reçu de ses nouvelles par email: “Je vais aller à la plage de Rockaway cet après-midi pour ramasser des moules!”

Ben voyons. Une mouclade à la new yorkaise.

Il n’y a vraiment qu’elle pour faire ça.

Portraits of Frenchies #1 : Le Type qui ne m’a jamais oubliée

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Je vous parle d’un temps que les moins de vingt ans ne peuvent pas connaître. Facebook n’en était qu’à ses balbutiements.

J’étais étudiante en médiation culturelle à Paris 3. Poussée par mes copines américaines qui voulaient partager leurs photomontages bidons où David Hasselhoff était souvent à l’honneur, je m’étais créé un compte Myspace que je n’utilisais jamais. Sur ma photo de profil, je faisais la vaisselle en pleurant. Je me souviens exactement du contexte dans lequel elle avait été prise et de la raison de mes larmes.

Un jour de l’été 2008, je reçus un message d’un illustre inconnu qui se décrivait comme photographe amateur. Si ma mémoire ne me trahit pas – il faudrait que j’aille vérifier, si toutefois MySpace existe encore – il s’agissait d’une courte phrase comme “Et je t’ai vue…” Il avait trouvé ma photo inhabituelle et avait éprouvé le besoin irrépressible d’établir un contact.

Sans savoir pourquoi, j’ai répondu. Sans savoir pourquoi, on a commencé à dialoguer. Sans savoir comment, on s’est retrouvé dans un genre de pique-nique blind date sur le Pont des Arts. À Paris, c’était la mode du gaspacho et des pique-niques sur le Pont des Arts à cette époque. Je ne sais pas si c’est toujours le cas.

On s’est vus à plusieurs reprises cet été-là, je ne saurais dire combien de fois. On se retrouvait dans divers lieux de la capitale et on passait de longs moments à parler. Je lui racontais ma vie par épisodes. On avait même passé une journée à Meudon, la banlieue de mon enfance, pour faire un pèlerinage nostalgique des lieux où j’ai grandi: ma première maison, mon école maternelle de hippies, la boutique bio que tenaient ensemble ma mère et ma tante. Je trouvais étrange qu’il s’intéresse à ce type de trucs alors qu’il me connaissait à peine. Tout paraissait le captiver. Il était inhabituel aussi, dans son genre. Il semblait vraiment chercher à percer ce qui lui apparaissait comme un mystère. Finalement, peu de gens ont cherché à me connaître autant en détail que lui.

Il ne s’est rien passé de romantique entre nous, rien du tout, car j’étais sur la fin de ma période “Je-veux-avoir-un-copain-car-c’est-ce-que-font-les-filles-qui-portent-des-jupes.” J’ai explosé dans ma vraie direction l’année suivante. Ce fut magnifique, libérateur, mais éprouvant nerveusement.

Je ne sais plus comment on a perdu contact, je crois qu’un jour j’ai arrêté de répondre ou de donner des nouvelles. Il n’y avait pas eu d’incident particulier. Ma mémoire est floue.

Les années ont passé, je suis partie vivre à Berlin, un peu Paris, Londres, un peu New York (cf. colonne Where? de ce blog). Je n’ai pas été particulièrement facile à localiser.

Il m’a retrouvée sur Facebook en 2011, trois ans après notre rencontre, et m’a écrit pour reprendre contact, me racontant que certaines coïncidences continuaient à le faire penser à moi de temps à autres. Je n’ai trouvé son message qu’en 2013, en apprenant l’existence de l’onglet “Autre” de mes Messages privés (jetez y un œil, ça vaut le coup d’avoir des surprises de ce genre). On est ainsi devenus amis virtuels.

Il s’enquérait de mes visites à Paris, qui n’arrivaient jamais, afin qu’on se revoie enfin. Je trouvais émouvant qu’il ne m’ait jamais oubliée après tout ce temps, alors que notre amitié fut plutôt brève.

En novembre dernier – il y a deux semaines – mon grand retour parisien fut finalement programmé. Le dernier jour, on s’est donné rendez-vous pour déjeuner dans le 19ème arrondissement, mon fief éternel. On ne s’était pas vus depuis plus de six ans.

Je suis arrivée la première. Il n’avait pas du tout changé physiquement. Je pense que j’avais plus changé que lui. Je me sentais à des années lumière de celle qu’il avait connue alors. Bizarrement, j’ai eu le sentiment de revoir quelqu’un qui faisait partie de ma vie. Il m’a dit qu’il avait toujours continué à penser à moi, parce que d’une certaine façon c’est de moi qu’il s’était jamais senti le plus proche, ou presque, et que les moments qu’on avait passés ensemble lui restaient comme des souvenirs intenses, hors du temps et des conventions. Il m’a dit que mon originalité l’avait marqué, ou plutôt ma quête d’un mode de vie autre. Je ne m’étais jamais rendu compte de l’impact que j’avais eu dans sa vie, je n’en savais rien du tout. J’ai été reconnaissante qu’il m’en parle.

On devine rarement l’importance que l’on peut avoir pour les gens s’ils ne nous en font pas part. Il faudrait toujours dire à ceux qui nous marquent, nous influencent ou nous attirent ce qu’ils représentent dans notre vie, quel que soit le lien que l’on a avec ces personnes et quels que soient la force, la durée ou la nature de ce coup de coeur. Je questionne régulièrement mon utilité, comme la plupart d’entre nous je suppose. Je suis souvent traversée par la pensée parasite que je ne sers à rien. C’est euphorisant d’apprendre un jour par hasard l’impact parfois insoupçonnable qui a été le nôtre. Une fois n’est pas coutume, j’ai été touchée.

On a refait la genèse de notre rencontre. MySpace… La photo de la fille qui pleure en faisant la vaisselle.. Il a voulu savoir pourquoi j’avais disparu. “Ce n’est pas pour te faire des reproches…” J’ai compris qu’il avait besoin de comprendre. Je n’ai su que dire, car je ne me souviens de rien sinon que je me sentais très mal affectivement à cette époque. Les circonstances de mon évaporation se sont effacées de ma mémoire.

Comment résumer les six dernières années quand on a à peine donné de ses nouvelles? Faire une liste des déménagements, des pays, des villes? Lui dépeindre mon mélodrame lesbien grandiloquent en me forçant de ne pas y mettre trop de verve politique pour ne pas passer pour une Femen tout de suite? Lui filer l’URL de mon blog d’exploratrice urbaine en lui disant: “Tout est là”?

“Et, toi alors?”, me suis-je finalement aventurée après un bon moment déjà. Il m’a répondu en toute simplicité qu’il était marié et avait deux enfants. “Ah bon! Tu ne m’as rien dit!” -“Tu ne m’as jamais demandé.” Ouch. Il avait rencontré sa future femme plus ou moins au moment où j’avais disparu de la circulation. J’étais contente pour lui. Il était heureux mais m’a confié souffrir d’un manque d’espace de liberté mentale, de créativité. La logistique et les contraintes pratiques de la vie de famille semblaient lui peser. Il était ardemment à la recherche d’une gestion discontinue du temps. C’est sûr que je n’ai pas ce genre de problème. En même temps, j’ai 31 ans et pas l’ombre du début d’une idée de où, comment et avec qui je pourrais avoir des enfants – avec en sympathique bonus une mère dont le hobby est de militer pour que les gays ne se reproduisent pas. Y a-t-il un type de difficultés plus enviable, un style de vie qui prévaut sur l’autre? La réponse est non.

On a parlé un long moment. J’étais très en retard mais je voulais prendre le temps de reconnecter vraiment. Je lui devais bien ça après toutes ces années et la fin en queue de poisson que je lui avais infligée.

Il faisait toujours de la photo et a sorti son appareil au milieu de l’Avenue Jean-Jaurès en me demandant s’il pouvait faire mon portrait. On a manqué se faire écraser plusieurs fois tandis je posais au milieu de la circulation, c’était rigolo. On recommençait déjà à se marrer en situations incongrues.

Il m’a raccompagnée jusqu’à la porte. Je lui ai promis que je n’attendrais pas six ans de plus pour le revoir, et que je ne me volatiliserais plus sans explication. Il m’a dit qu’il m’enverrait les photos qu’il venait de prendre.

Je n’ai encore rien reçu.

The #5 Waldo House Series – Episode#6 – The Back Touch

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This is how it all started. Like a blockbuster rom com.

We met on a Friday, made love on Saturday and were a couple by Sunday.

Reality always tops fiction.

I was in my flat in Paris, chatting with my friend ε who was spending the year in London. She told me that I had to meet this girl she was studying with.

A few days later, ε told me to get ready cause they had booked tickets, and by the way the girl would stay at my place because it would be more convenient for everyone. I was fine with it, as I knew that set ups never work out so it would be like hosting a random person for a few days. No big deal.

I met her in the most unusual context. I was attending a dance workshop the whole week with Dominique Mercy, the main dancer of Pina Bausch. The last day, the rehearsal was open to the public, and there she saw me for the first time. I remember glimpsing her coming through the door and briefly looking at her thinking “So, this is who she is.” I didn’t have time for further considerations, because I had a performance to give.

We got officially introduced to each other after the show. I was sweaty and disgusting. I think I almost liked her right away, I don’t remember exactly what detail caught me, but it was pretty much an instant thing on my side. Every aspect about her, I liked. She told me much later that she didn’t like me at the beginning. She was turned off by my social self. She changed her mind as soon as we passed the door of my flat that evening, because I apparently instantly became someone else and she could see beyond the surface.

We talked till the early hours of the morning. Flats in Paris are so small that she had no choice but sharing my bed. We saved time.

The universe had arranged all the circumstances for us, including the fact that for the first time in history, I miraculously had nothing in my diary for the next 4 days. Her, me & Paris.

The morning after, we went to the Louvre to see the Victory of Samothrace. The summer of her 13th birthday, she went to the island of Samothrace with her parents and this is where she realised that she was gay. That was her own victory of Samothrace.

We were invited to a party that evening. She was rolling me cigarettes. I still haven’t learned how to do it until now. We were looking for each other’s presence all the time – presages of the chemical addiction to follow. I didn’t know how to tell her I liked her, because I had never been serious about anyone. My “love” life had been everything and nothing till that point.

All of a sudden, in the middle of the crowd, she flippantly rubbed her hand on my back. This was the signal. I will never forget that back touch, invitation to infinite possibilities.

I remember looking at her in the escalators on the way back home. We both knew what was going to happen next. We just didn’t know how and were nervous about it.

It took hours. We were lying in bed facing each other and beating around the bushes, hoping for the other to make the first move.

We both made the first move at the same time, and that was significant for the rest of our relationship. Things got unbalanced between us over the course of time, but for sure we were evenly powerful. Without the social context, we could have had a never ending love arm wrestling.

I slipped my way closer to her, she moved back until the edge of the mattress. We had reached a point of no return where she had to choose between falling off the bed and falling for me.

We adored each other for almost 4 years.

Drawing by “her”