Four years ago, I was in the midst of disassembling my life in Colorado. This is the only way to build a new one. There in my apartment, which was rapidly becoming a large empty space, I stared at the packed boxes. There were more & more of them every day.
There were times when the packing & planning was exhausting. It was easier to chain smoke in the dark with several pints of Guinness & a blank page while listening to Rufus Wainwright.
Of course, one song that I played over & over again was “Leaving for Paris”.
It seemed so appropriate since that is exactly what I was doing.
It had occurred to me that I might actually be out of my goddamn mind. Then again, this thought has crossed my mind several times throughout my life & has never really been a point of major concern.
But… packing up my life to move to another country to marry a man who I had only spent a total of 5 weeks with seemed a little wacky. Even for me.
Then again… it made perfect sense.
I wasn’t scared. Well… not at first. I had packed, sold, thrown or given away everything that I owned. My faithful feline sidekick had already made the flight to Paris & was safe in what would be our new home. Everything was going smoothly.
Until I saw the airport.
Then it was a struggle not to shit myself. I mean that literally. I’m a nervous pooper.
So, I arrived in Montmartre where Olivier & my feline sidekick were waiting for me. Did we all run off merrily into the Parisian sunset to live happily ever after?
Really? Do you even have to ask? What kind of fairy tale land of bullshit do you wake up in every day? It was fucking hard.
I had been living alone for quite some time before I made this move. Now, there I was, thousands of miles away from peaceful, spacious Loveland, Colorado. Instead, I was sitting in an apartment in Montmartre with a man who would soon be my husband. Four floors up from honking cars, shouting drunks & growling buses… all of them shitting out litter & pollution.
The entire apartment was the almost the size of the living room in my previous apartment. I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t know anyone, aside from this guy that I met on the internet & was weeks away from marrying.
Right. Did I mention that we were planning a wedding, too?
What I really missed was my car. I never really took to public transportation – especially the métro.
Indeed, that first year was a bit rough. There were learning curves for both of us as we sacrificed our independence & learned to share our toys. I admit, my curve moves a lot slower & less smoothly than his.
Keep in mind, I moved here because one of us had to move & for practical reasons, it ended up being me. The decision had nothing to do with any Francophilia or overwhelming desire to flee Colorado, which I love more than anywhere else on Earth. My longing for home banged a few dents in the curve.
We were often frustrated, tired & confused, but always happy… as retarded & paradoxical as that sounds.
One afternoon, not long before we moved out of Paris, Olivier called me at home from his office.
“Rufus is playing at the Trianon theater tonight,” he said. “There are still some tickets on sale if you want to go.”
Wait. Rufus? MY Rufus? He even had to ask?
When Olivier got home from work, I was dressed & ready to go. The Trianon theater in Montmartre was only a few minutes walk from our apartment, so off we went.
We sat there, happy in the dark of the small theater as Rufus sat at his piano, charming the audience while speaking adorable bits of Frenglish.
The crowds & pollution outside of the theater were forgotten, as were the asshole neighbors, French lessons & the hot, stinking métro. When the lights went low & blue, Rufus sat down at his piano & began tapping out the first few notes of “Leaving for Paris”. The upright bass being played behind him kept rhythm & nothing else could be heard.
Tears came to my eyes. Olivier took my hand & I thought about those boxes in my empty apartment back in Colorado. I remembered what an insane decision that had been.
I mean, come on… packing up my life to move to another country to marry a man who I had only spent a total of 5 weeks with seemed a little wacky. Even for me.
Then again… it made perfect sense.
By the time that Rufus had started “Complainte de la Butte“, I was home.