Paris Diaries: Inkstained
Instead of the decadent dinner at Au Petit Monsieur, I decided that it was better to play things low key and close to the vest. After all, I had to be up at 3:30 in order to make my flight home. Home. While I had enjoyed a surprisingly wonderful trip, I had reached the point where I wanted to go home. While the trip had been surprisingly enjoyable, I was ready to go home- share stories with Bakerina over wine and food, type up notes before the semester started again. Life in Paris is always precarious (Don't believe me just read some Balzac or Zola, and you will see how one's fortune in Paris can turn on a pin) and although I was in love with the world, especially the corner of it called Paris, I needed a bit of comfort, a bit of rest before I began another three months of attempting to inspire my students to produce something vaguely ressembling anything well written. Still, as I walked into La Mascotte, I thought that as much as I loved New York, as much as I missed my friends, Paris very well might be the city for me.

I sat alone near the back of the restaurant while two waiters alternatively served and pondered me. They were dressed as almost all waiters in Paris are outfitted, starched crisp white shirts, almost floor length aprons, and black trousers. I rather liked both of them for different reasons. There was the pale cute one with dark hair, and the other one, surprisingly with curly ginger colored hair, and a bit of attitude. Gingy was unabashed in his curiousity and satirically critical attitude. He eyed me with condescending amusement, and I found this quality strangely endearing, as he struck me as a perfect representation of how people imagine Parisian waiters.

The Pale Cutey, however, was my primary server. As he leaned over the table to set down my steak au poivre, I noticed that his tattoos, dark, primitive designs more suited to the drummer in a garage band than a neatly attired server, showing through the crisp white of his pressed shirt. It's moments like this, these minor revelations, I live for-the waiter's dichtomous nature revealed-the impeccable shirt with the vulnerability of his tattoos peaking through the fabric. I wondered if this was the reason I so enjoyed inspiring naked desire-in order to see the true nature barely visible from the surface...if what resides beneath surface can be said anymore truthful than any other facet of our personalities.

As I pondered these deeper issues inspired by the glimpse of tattoos, I noticed that my pen had leaked ink all over my hands. I pondered the link now between the waiter and myself-both of us inkstained, although in different ways. My hands are usually inkstained, particularly in Paris. There is no question of what I am here, my chosen profession. I knew that when I got home I had to finish the Paris Diaries, but until then I vowed to remain like Rimbaud-crazy and indulgent-preferring the insanity of fleeting passions to a life of quiet desperation.

As I sat stirring my coffee, I tried to come to terms with the fact in a matter of hours I would be back in NYC. In an abstract sense, knew it to be true, but somehow watching these two waiters snarking at each other in French as they lounged by the kitchen door, it was utterly inconceivable. It was if I had forgotten what New York was really like and all I could imagine was continuing to loiter in museums, exploring sidestreets and open air markets, seducing more paramours, and scribbling my musings and adventures in cafes and restaurants at the end of the day. A life filled with crowded urine smelling subway platforms was actually unimaginable as I sat in that restaurant even though I knew it was only a plane ride away.

I returned to the hotel in enough of a red wine haze that I strolled by Nikolae with barely a wave. He was, as I predicted, nervous and awkward. I wasn't sure why he was nervous-if he was worried I wanted a repeat performance or if he was afraid of rejection, and I didn't really care. He had served his purpose, and I had no secret hopes of running away with the concierge from my hotel. Perhaps that was wrong of me considering how anything is possible in Paris, but I couldn't give up my life in NY just. Besides I had already spent almost a year pining for one Parisian, and I wasn't about to do it again.

Instead I simply smiled and waved at him from the elevator-confident and sensual as ever. As I curled up in that cushy bed for the last time, I knew I would miss the woman I had become in Paris and that I had to dedicate myself to finding a way to keeping that woman alive.

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