"You bitch, you cheated on me when I had cancer."
I know I promised you a post about the end of Paris, but one of my very close friends, one of the people responsible for that first trip to Paris, died on friday morning. I found out when some pompous twit pontificating in my favorite coffee shop at the top of his lungs about my friend's medical history casually announced that my friend had passed away. When the person I was having coffee with told him that maybe this wasn't the best way for me to find out, his defense was "Oh I thought you already knew." Friends, if and when I end up in the hospital please do me the favor of discussing the details of my medical history sotto voce in public. I do not want the entire hearing community to know about when I was on dialysis or taken off a ventilator.
And while I was still reeling from this news, I was also told that my favorite bar, let me say this again, MY FAVORITE BAR, which is something akin to saying my favorite thing to breathe, suddenly closes. People I am a delicate creature. Much like tropical fish, I do not tolerate major changes to my environment. Don't change the temperature. Don't bang on the glass. Leave that wierd little faux scuba guy right where he is.
And this is the long long long way of saying that I am not quite in the right place to do the Paris finale. On top of everything else, my friend's death has created a lot of other work for me to do this week and I want to give the final Paris post the attention it deserves. I'm aiming for wednesday.
Needless to say this is not the way I wanted to spend my Valentine's Day. Sorting through a dead man's papers so that when his daughters, who never bothered to visit him while he was in the hospital for three months, finally arrive, they will not have to deal with a mess. I don't even have the consolation of a drink at my favorite watering hole. I mean knew it wasn't going to be a good day, but I wasn't prepared for it be quite this bad of a day.
My general attitude towards love and romance could be summed up by an incident that happened this weekend. Saturday night, when all of us were having a last hurrah at F's, a fight broke out on the street. A girl was pushing her boyfriend. Finally the man hauled off and shoved her into the street. "You bitch," he said, "you cheated on me when I had cancer." This is what I was thinking of today.
Still, there are moments when I become reassured that there actually is something vaguely ressembling the love that poets and novelists promise. Not for me, but at least it's out there. My dear friend Teresa has a new man. I took a picture of them together saturday night. When she went to the bathroom, he turned to me and said "It's a good thing I can make her laugh as much as I do."
If my friend were still alive, I'm sure we would sit in our coffee place and he would draw pictures of the people there and I would offer my sarcastic criticism of love, I would narrow my eyes at men bearing roses and balloons, I would secretly wish for them to burst or wilt on the spot, and he would go on, acting like he is ignoring the whole rant, perhaps he would play a game of chess with bland lawyer. And in the end, he would tell me to go back to Paris where the men will throw themselves into the Seine for the love of me. He will tell me that perhaps my problem is that my expectations are too high. And then, with his light Alabama accent, he would put his hand on my shoulder and say "I understand. Surely Darius the Great would sympathize."

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