Paris Diaries: Ces Bottes Sont Faites Pour Marcher*
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I had been impressed the day before with the Sauvage's maturity, and even the gentility, with which he accepted my departure. I would not have taken it nearly as well; in fact I probably would have reacted like a Machiavellian villain had the tables been turned and done something typically understated like poisoning an entire convent (The Jew of Malta). In the night, however, the Sauvage decided that I ceased to exist.

He got up and went downstairs to work on the car without a word to me. I stayed upstairs taking tylenol PM to moderate my fever and rising anxiety. I saw trying to read In Ruins and pondering how I had gotten myself into another fine mess. Nana came in at one in the afternoon and offered me some crackers, it was the first contact and food I had that day. I gave her one of the candy canes I had stashed for her in my bag. At around three in the afternoon, about the time I was hoping to check into the hotel, there was no word about when I would be able to get out of this place. I didn't want to lose my reservation. I asked Nana what was going on with her father. As usual when I spoke to her, she seemed not to understand me and finally she took me downstairs to where her father was working on the car. If I had any ideas about this being an amicable separation, they were immediately eliminated. The Sauvage was now so disgusted by me he couldn't look at me and could barely suffer to spit a few syllables at me. When I finally was able to get an answer out of him about when the car might be ready, two hours or so, I went upstairs to look for the number of the hotel on his computer.

While I was looking, I happened to see in his browser history a web address called juggmaster. Now a smart person would have ignored the browser history, a smart person would say "That's none of my business" and go to the matter at hand-making sure that the hotel would accept me.

I've never done the smart thing. In fact, if I had, I would never have gone to Paris alone. or found myself in an affair with a Parisian.

Juggmaster was exactly as one would expect, a porn site for men who like big breasts. I remembered that second night we were together when he assured me that he wouldn't fall for another woman and told me he avoided women for the year after his wife left until he met me. I asked him why me, why was I the first woman he went for and he hadn't been able to answer; he had simply shrugged. Now I knew why. There was no je ne sais quoi, no mystery, no magic, no romance. It was as simple as he saw a girl at the next table who looked like his middle aged sex fantasy and because I was emotional and weak and feeling lost and I responded.

When love dies it's hard to know what was real and what wasn't. There is always the temptation to think it was all a lie. It's easier to believe that the person never loved you than to believe that they once did. I sat there thinking he had just wanted me for sex, but if that was true what about taking me to meet his parents? What about Provins and the Eiffel Tower? What about the complete and utter lack of hot monkey love on the computer camera? It couldn't be that he just wanted me for sex, could it?

Could it?

In truth, it didn't matter. Whether he wanted me for sex or conversation or interpretive dance, the relationship, such as it was, was over. What I needed to do was focus on getting a hotel room.

I found the number and struggled to figure out how to make a local call, but I finally got through to the hotel and informed them I would be arriving in the evening. The lovely and bilingual woman I spoke to said that it would be fine.

After the car was finally fixed, the Sauvage invited the mechanic upstairs. They all stood in the kitchen and had a drink. The Sauvage introduced the mechanic to Nana, while I was left completely unacknowledged and ignored in the living room. I had passed into the realm of the non-existent, the untouchable. I was a ghost. Even a stranger warranted more effort than I did.

After the mechanic left, the Sauvage threw my shoes at me-barking that it was time to leave-as if I hadn't been desperately waiting for this moment all day. I got my bags into the car, this time unassisted. As we were driving the Sauvage informed me that he would just take me to a cab stand, I asked him to stop at an ATM so I would have enough cash. He did manage to acquiesce to that request,before dropping me off with about the same level of emotional investment one might have for a sack of mouldering potatoes. I wrestled my bags from the car on my own and gave Nana the last of the candy canes. He wasn't even looking out the window to watch my progress. Finally I knocked on the window so he knew he could leave and turned my back on him. If he expected begging and a tearful good-bye, I was going to be god damned before he got it from me. He drove off without even a casual glance.

I smiled at the cab driver who helped me with my bags and off I went to the Champs Elysees. I realized that this trip was something like the trip I took in May in reverse. Instead of now a sudden abduction to a private home, now I was suddenly being returned to the world of hotels and restaurants. In the cab I wondered, briefly, if he expected me to have changed my mind in the night? Had he really thought I would break up with him capriciously and then make up with him in the wee hours of the morning? Was I supposed to beg his forgiveness? If he thought hsi change in behavior would provoke such a reaction, he really didn't know who he was dealing with.

The cab pulled up to the hotel and I quickly checked in. I've never been so happy to see french windows, white sheets, and a clean sweet smelling bathroom. In fact, the hotel room surpassed my dreams-there were chocolates on the pillows, rose petals on the bathroom and a beautiful view of the rooftops of Paris. I called Bakerina and informed her that the escape was fait accompli. I was starving and discovered a bag of printer spice cookies I had packed as a plane snack. As I devoured the bag, I swore silently to myself I would never EVER be without these cookies as long as I lived.1

Properly fortified I found the energy to quickly go out and scavenge for more food as well as investigate my new hood. I found a cafe and ordered a kir as an American couple ordered a pina coloda and a corona. I opened my notebook to write about my disapproval as my salad arrived noting "If ANY of my friends EVER order a Pina Colada in Paris, especially in the dead of winter, there will be beheadings ALL AROUND! . I felt reassured by this series of events-American idiocy, my disapproval, the writing of taunts. This was how things were meant to go. While slowly grazing, I managed to write a list places I wanted to go in Paris now that I was free to go wherever I wanted.

Over the sound system Sam Cook's song "Wonderful World (Don't Know Much)", started to play. I listened to the lyrics "Don't know much about the French I took. But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me too, What a wonderful world this would be." I had a moment of regret for the Sauvage. After all, the man must have cared for me, had saved me once. And then I thought, he would always have the love of his daughter to comfort him.

And me?

I had all the world.

* These Boots Are Made For Walking
1 This promise is an homage to my father's favorite line from Joe Versus the Volcano "Wherever we go, whatever we do....let's take this luggage!"

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