Paris Diaries: Anatomy of a Romantic Catastrophe

"Men should be like tissue: soft, strong, and disposable." Madeleine Kahn as Mrs. White in Clue

I awoke at 1 am in the hotel room. Instead of taking another Tylenol PM, I decided to take out my guide book and reflect on where I wanted to go in the upcoming week now that I was no longer tied to the Sauvage and his daughter. The following are disjointed notes from my journal that I wrote that night. They have been put into order with minor supplementary material added to make them a bit more intelligible:

The death of love is never completely explicable; It's like the problem of evil. Sure, one reads about the horrific circumstances under which serial killers were raised-sexually abused, humiliated, tortured, insulted by those who should have protected them-but then consider how many children face similar childhoods and grow up to be paragons of virtue or at the very least fairly normal individuals. So what is that missing factor? Clearly there were problems between the Sauvage and myself, but what was it that drove me to this point? Was it the kittens? Was it the illness? And what about the juggmaster site? Did he ever really love me or was it simply what I did for his ego? A hot American girl willing to fly across an ocean for him?

Why did I end up making this 2,000 dollar mistake?

Sometimes there are no answers. I thought I had dreamed of being back with the Sauvage, but I had been avoiding his IMs. Hadn't that been a sign?

Or had it? The stress of the holidays, the parties, the final grades. Weren't these all legitimate reasons?

Examine any catastrophe in detail, and you will discover a complex series of events that to had to occur under very precise conditions. It's never a simple equation of cause and effect, but a puzzle box of coincidences and unforeseen happenstance. Even my own motives are obscure. My students like to think they know themselves. When asked about their motives, they always laughing answer quickly and clearly, as if they have never wondered at their own acts or motives. Me? I often wonder at myself. As Montaigne wrote in "We are entirely made up of bits and pieces, woven together so diversely and so shapelessly that each of them pulls its own way at every moment." It's the sheerest folly to think that anyone knows another person, nevermind themselves well.

I knew that this relationship was on borrowed time. Not because of the Sauvage, the language issues, the problems of moving across country-with will all things are possible. But my own cruel nature as a writer is what would have doomed it.How would he have taken what I've written about him and his daughter? And yet I would never back down from it, I would sacrifice this man and his daughter and what I thought be my only chance at happiness-to live in Paris- Simply because as Montaigne identified we have an "inborn propensity to cruelty." As a writer, throwing your friends under the bus is often a requirement (as David Sedaris recognized in "Repeat AFter Me") because "Watching animals playing together and cuddling each other is nobody's sport: everyone's sport is to watch them tearing each other apart and wrenching off their limbs."

By now it's 20 of 4. I'm standing in the French window of my hotel room, the window is open with cold air against my skin. I'm listening to the Moody Blues on my ipod with my eyes closed thinking about all the escapades I'm going to have before I return home. Climbing Sacre Couer, visiting my favorite statue in the Musee D'orsay, going to the Musee Jaquemart and the Parc Monceau, and revisiting the Bloulevard Saint Michel.

I realize that there is no reason to think about the Sauvage anymore. Whatever happened, happened. Even if I figure out what went wrong, the relationship will not be any more or less dead. All I have to do now is what I always do, close my eyes and embrace Paris.

Now playing: The Moody Blues - Your Wildest Dreams
via FoxyTunes

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