Let me know if you're reading by joining the Sleepless in Beirut page




I'm sleepless at CDG.

It can be argued that no matter how good a movie is, the ending makes it or breaks it.

The time I have thus spent in Paris has been everything, but what I had anticipated. I thought I would arrive, break out of my shell, blossom in a thousand colours, write countless romantic stories, and emerge as a full and complete woman.

Not quite.

As much as I'd like to think of myself otherwise, adapting took some time, not a few days, nor a few weeks, but a couple of months.

Instead of abusing my liberty and anonymity, I shrunk further back as though afraid of what I would discover. Ultimately, I convinced myself that I just wasn't interested to go out of my way, to meet people, to make things happen for me, to find the doors I needed to open.

As for romance...it said peek-a-boo and disappeared in a cloud of indigo.

And then came my final week. Suddenly, I was putting myself in precarious situations just...out...of...plain...curiosity. I wanted to meddle, to rip apart, to tinker with possibilities. As soon as I began to do so, it felt like a rush to the surface, all my frustrations bubbling up alongside me until we all shot through the thin fragile film dividing ocean and air. The blue, blurry environment of lonely whales calling immediately receded into a faraway cove of my mind. Now, there was colour and warm temperature and sticky skin and tension and anticipation, feelings of weight and body, concepts that were not heard of in the universe of slow and buoyant, where collisions seem oiled and apologetic, because with miles of marine blue distance, meetings were avoidable.

My first date was with Nice (boy for nice girl). Yes, an online find. No, I'm not proud of it. In fact, I knew very little about him except for minor details: early 30s, French, decent-looking, his written English was commendable, he had lived in the States for quite some time and when Googled, banking and private investment pages would pop up. Surely, he was not a freak...although after Clooney, I had pretty much sworn off anyone with "private investments" on their CV.

We exchanged several messages and seeing that I was travelling soon, we set up a date not long after. Sunday, 15:00 at Place Saint-Sulpice.

I had not been out on a conventional date for years now. I was nervous and I had to take necessary precautions. I asked Laydi to be my private detective. Not only would she help commemorate such a "milestone", but she would be there in case I needed an emergency exit card. Better safe than sorry.

I arrived there on time. To avoid looking like a nervous first-timer, I sat down at an outside table at the main cafe and ordered a glass of orange juice. And waited.

Fifteen minutes went by and I was still waiting. I had, of course, yielded into looking around for someone who looked like him. I only saw extremes: too good looking to be true, too unattractive to give me enough enthousiasm to look back. I began feeling silly.

"Are you late, hiding or at the wrong address?"

"Sorry...I thought you received my e-mail. I will be late. Should be there in 20 minutes or so."

(Wrong. He was there in double the time.)

"I would advise you to sit at the cafe, drink a glass of Chablis and enjoy the view while you're waiting."

He called a few minutes later.

"I'm so sorry is juss zat I needed to go to a pharmacie and today is so hard to find one, it's Sunday, so I had to go out of my way...I will not be long, 15-20 minutes..."

What could I say. I was there, I had nowhere to rush to, I told him it was fine. I'd wait. In the meantime, I moved into the cafe as suggested, it was middle of June, but as cool and overcast as though it were March, my hands were blue by now. But already, from the sound of his voice, I knew it wasn't going to be referred back to as Saint Dating Day.

"Almost at Concorde, then I need to take the line 12 for 4 stations."

"Don't slip while you run :p"

"I'll do my best :-)...shouldn't be much longer. Thanks for your extreme patience."

I called Laydi.

"Hey, he's running late, where are you?"

"In front of you."

I looked around, no sign of her.

"I'm looking, I'm looking....hold on...what are you wearing?"

"My trench coat and hat. I'm right in front of you, come on."

I stood up, stretched my neck...nothing.

"I think you're in front of the wrong cafe...can you see me?"

"Of course!"

The figure sitting next to the entrance, just outside the floor-length window turned around. It was wearing Lennon sunglasses, a hat and a beige trench coat.

"Damn you're good!!!"

She laughed and then turned back.

"I thought that the last guy to enter was him. I'll keep looking out for him. Good luck!"

He arrived not long after. Just-about-scarily tall, in dress shoes, jeans, striped white shirt and black blazer. He was so clean shaven I thought we'd squeak as we kissed bisou bisou. I knew then and there that this was going to be a not-my-kind-of-date.

He was a nice guy, he hadn't lied, he did everything right, asked the right questions, slipped a "pretty eyes" compliment, told a humorous anecdote or two, cited interesting facts about this and that, had something to say on a variety of subjects, but all this had me on the brink of boredom.

We sat there for an hour or so, I had to discretely look at my watch to believe it. While we ran self-commercials, Laydi managed to steal a few photos of us advertising to one another.

Finally, he suggested we go for a walk. I just wanted to go home, but considered it as my afternoon's worth of exercise. He let me lead and I took the liberty of walking in the direction of my house. As we both blabbed, I wondered whether I was difficult to please or whether attraction was as simple as it used to be when we were short of Sapiens. Had he been someone else, someone more like Jeremy Irons for instance, I would have been hooked to his every word...or would I? Had I finally become picky?! Had these months of single life paid off for my own good? I had always thought they would. With so much time spent away from the distractions of infatuation, I was better aware and perhaps better equipped to single out the people with whom I could really connect.

If it takes effort, it's not worth it. When you know what could be, it's lazy and sad to compromise.

Nice (boy for nice girl) asked whether I'd like to have dinner with him after I returned from vacation. I pondered whether he did so out of courtesy. Surely, he must have been bored by me too. Or maybe it was the pressure of being from a traditional background and going on late thirties. I answered with a vague perhaps. I was certain that the impending summer heat would bring along with it a nicer girl for this perfectly nice boy.

I went up to my home and sighed relief. This dating thing is not for me.

As with most things, I was proven wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment