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Thursday, May 04, 2006 

The Long Goodbye

Operative word there being long. This is a lengthy entry.

April 17, 2006

I couldn't wait to get back to Paris. Not just to see Scottie, but because my daughter and I had lots of fun stuff to cram into the last three days of our trip.

We checked out of our hotel, and made our way to Utrecht Centraal station, and got on our Paris-bound train. The ride was pretty uneventful. There was a large group of (American) teenagers behaving obnoxiously. Coincidentally, we'd seen this same group at the Anne Frank house the day before.

During the ride, my phone's message alert sounded. I checked it and found a message from Scottie. It read "I have friends coming to stay arriving Tuesday night. We would have to shack up at your hotel if you were keen for sex." I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to that. In fact, I re-read the message several times. Something had changed. I mean, I knew that we weren't dating, but still. I felt somewhat...I don't know. Objectified, maybe? Whatever. For some reason my feelings were kind of hurt. Whether or not my feelings were reasonable or justified or not, they were what they were.

Ironically, one of the things that I found most attractive about him was his lack of pretense. He always said exactly what he meant, and looked me in the eye when we were talking. No pussyfooting around.

After thinking (okay, obsessing) about his message for a while, I responded with "Hmmm...well, I do want to see you, so I'll work something out."

We arrived back to the Gare du Nord, and took a taxi back to the Lyon-Mulhouse - the same hotel I'd been at the previous week. I had actually reserved a room for our return!

After we settled in, the text flurry began. Admittedly, they're mundane...but I've saved them all, so I'll share these few with you:
"Hi Scottie! I'm back in Paris."
"Aye aye. How's it going? What you up to?"
"Just got out of the shower. Gonna go check my email. You still at work?"
"No work today. I'm getting a bit of sun in Les Halles park. Then I was thinking of making a chili."
"Glad you had a day off. Want to come over later? My daughter is going to a movie at 8."
"Ok. You give me a toot when I should horse on."
"Ok. Coming."

I told my daughter that I had a date. Now, as it happens, our hotel was right next to a movie theater. Not one of the monster googleplexes we have in the States, a small two or three screen place. One of the films showing was Ice Age 2. We'd (my daughter and I) gone to the theater earlier and asked about her attending the movie alone - she's gone with friends her own age, but never completely alone. They said it'd be okay, and that they'd keep an eye on her. She was stoked. Let's just say, she's always been very independent.

So, at about 7:45 my phone rang. It was Scottie. I asked him if he was downstairs. He said he was out front. I told him we'd be right down.

Bink and I went downstairs. I dropped off the key at the desk, and we went outside. There he was. He turned around to see us, and all I could think was "Oh my god. You look so f*ing hot!" Maybe it was the four days apart, maybe it was his leather jacket. Who knows?

I introduced them. Scottie asked her about her exchange, and about our trip to Amsterdam. Did we go to the Rijksmuseum? Anne Frank's house? What did she think about this and that? I thought it was really sweet.

We went next door to the theater, waited with her, and walked her in.

Then we went back to the hotel, retrieved my key and went upstairs.

As soon as we walked in and closed the door, he took off his shoes and jacket and sat on my bed. He took my hand and pulled me over to him, and down on the bed.

I said, "I can't believe I'm doing this." And then did it anyway.

A bit later, we decided to go for a drink. We stopped at the theater to double check the movie's end time, and then went to a bar.

"Do you know rue de Lappe?" he asked. Of course, I did, because Eric had taken me there the week before.

After one drink, he mentioned that he was hungry. We decided to go to a cafe across from the hotel and movie theater. I checked the time and mentioned that we should go because it was time to go get my daughter. He said no, he wasn't going.

"What?," I asked. "Why not?"

He said that it had been weird for him to meet her, and that he had been uncomfortable - he hadn't known what to say to her.

So he stayed in the cafe while I met her, and took her upstairs. It was just about 10:00 by then. She washed her face, brushed her teeth and put on her pajamas. I told her that Scottie was waiting for me across the street. I gave her my phone and his phone number, put her to bed, and went out.

We went back to rue de Lappe and found a cool bar. We stood laughing and talking. He made fun of my penchant for saying "Whatever, dude." He also did an hysterical American accent. I asked him, "So, Americans all sound whiny to you?!"

Throughout our "relationship," I would constantly ask him "What?" or say "Sorry?" after he said something to me, because his accent is so strong. That night he asked me "How much of what I say do you actually understand?" I thought for a moment and said "About 70%."

We were having a good time. At one point he asked me (at least I thought he asked me) "Are you enjoying the crack?" I laughed so hard! I said, "What are you talking about?" Actually he was asking me if I was enjoying the craic. There's a difference!

It was about 11:00 now. I asked him what time the Métro stopped running. He said around midnight. I told him we should leave, since we only had an hour.

"Are you saying you want to come back to mine?"

We walked back toward the Métro. I can't remember exactly what he said, but I remember that I asked him "Really? You can't tell that my daughter's dad is white?" He said to remember that he's from Scotland. Not a bastion of interracial relationships. I said, "I confess Scottie. You are not my first "vanilla sin."

We went back to his place. He put on The White Album (a recurring theme, I'll address at a later point) and sang to me for a bit while we lay on the couch.

Finally, we started kissing. It was weird. We knew that we had only a limited time together, but it felt as if everything was moving in slow motion. He took his shirt off, and as we were making out, I tried to take his belt off. But I couldn't figure it out. We started laughing, and he said "Don't worry about it." Then he got up and left the room.

I was sitting alone on the couch for a few minutes thinking "Um, what happened?" I went into the bedroom, and there he was. Naked in bed.

"Whatcha doin'?"

"Waiting for you."


I don't know if he'd been holding out on me, or because this was going to be our final time together, but let's just say - he saved the best for last.

Afterwards, he asked me how I was doing. I told him that I was a little sad.

"Sad? Why?"

"Because I'm never going to see you again."

"Tant pis, as the French say."


I got dressed, went to the living room and got my stuff. I came back into the room, and sat on the edge of the bed. After a long hug, and a few kisses, I said goodbye. He said "Have fun, keep smiling."

I was kind of annoyed. "Fuck you. Is that all you have to say to me?"

"What do you want me to say?"

In my mind I was thinking: "Say you'lll miss me, say you don't want me to go. Say you're so glad you met me, and how unfair it is that we don't have more time together. Say something else..."

But what I said was "Nothing."

And then I left. I got back to the room. Bink was asleep.

I couldn't sleep, so I watched television.

And I was sad.

wow. i am such a sucker for happy endings that i almost hope there is more to this story. and yet the growing with age cynical side of me says that a meetup like this was bound to be doomed from the start. and yet what the hell do i know? i've never been a situation like this before. but boy, i would have been pissed at him too. and sad. it's like you didn't know what you were expecting, only you were expecting something different than what you got.
can't wait for the next installment "as buzzgirl's world turns" :)

NICE long post:):)

Well i just wrote a really long comment, and then I hit a button and it vanished!!! figures, lets see, what did i say, oh I was saying (it's very late here btw, so please excuse kookiness) that I had to stop in the middle of this and go to the bathroom and I was cursing not having a laptop!!!
I've had those summer holiday romances, and wooooohoooo they are powerful! so intense, that you hate for it to end, but your prince charmant, will be much better than him, i'm sure of it!!!
How about the 9:05 picture guy, he was kind of cute:)
I hope too that there is maybe more to the story:)

Travelling romances are considered cool, but the face cachée est: they suck big time.

I know exactly how you felt having been there.

Can you feel me hugging you? Because I am.

What's his address? I wanna go around and kick me some Scottish ass!

Aw, thanks ladies :)

Technically, I haven't had a bona fide travel romance, so I can't say I completely understand, but I know where you're coming from...the whole bittersweetness of it all. It sucks :(

If I hear a guy speaking with a Scottish accent when I'm in Paris in a few weeks, you know I'll be secretly judging him!

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