My father always told me to look to the stars to find my way home. That was true a long time ago, when he was younger, before the universe started fraying at the edges. The stars haven’t shined brightly in decades. Even if they did, I’m not sure I would know the way home, especially all the way up here. But it’s easy to pretend that I can pinpoint where Earth is out this little window, despite the fact that there is nothing but blackness and the occasional moon or bulbous orange planet that doesn’t remind me of our galaxy at all. We’re far from where we started.
There is smoke. It has grown thicker over the last hour, invading my lungs and stinging my eyes. I take another hit and begin to cough. Someone laughs, which is to be expected. With six joints circulating between the eight of us, there is a certain etiquette that is expected. The chuckles die down and leave us in silence in the cool dark of someone’s basement that is lit up with Christmas lights. I guess I don’t know where I am. I guess it doesn't matter.
Dez is not a morning person. I remind myself of the fact when I feel the urge to ruffle his hair. His snapping turtle role isn’t worth a few moments of happiness. In the end, it’s my feelings that’ll be hurt and Dez who won’t remember what he said, halfheartedly apologizing in his boxers over coffee before I go to work.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that it was only four months ago that I moved into a house with Craigslist strangers. In that time, I have 1) not been murdered and 2) been exposed to dozens of people and concepts that have helped to make me hungry for new connections. Of course, there is a sense of bittersweetness to this. Because of the transitory state of many of my roommates, it almost goes without saying that all good things must come to an end.
As a poor, naive Southerner, I thought that we might see spring and put away our snow boots by the end of February. I remember in November when people would laugh at my optimism and I thought they were jerks. March has come and gone here in the Bond House. Snow lingers on the ground, the temperature has barely cracked 50 on most days, and I'm still wearing wool.
The last full day in Paris is bittersweet. Even after this short period of time, I feel like this little apartment is a home. At the top of the stairs, I find this dorm-sized room more comforting than any place I've stayed in years. Living here would be easy, I think. In six months, I would have some solid conversational skills. In eight? Surely almost fluent. A year? More? I'll be like Gertrude Stein and run one of the hottest salons in the city.
Today was the sort of day where you leave the past where it belongs. I took a hard look in the mirror and said, "Bailey, it's time to be a grown ass woman." Where better to do that than a cemetery? A thousand other places, but we work with what we've got.
When travelling, one rarely thinks about laundry; however, international travel usually requires people to pack lightly and prepare for the eventuality that they will have to throw their knickers in with the wash. Having armed ourselves with a bargain priced liquid detergent and a sack full of euros, Lisa and I braved the unthinkable: doing the laundry in French. That, of course, meaning here we threw some coins into a machine, crammed the clothes into a single washer, and ate eclairs for breakfast.
I start off with my head near a toilet and wishing that I would learn not to take vitamins, no matter how badly I need them. I’ll be equally real about this: Today was not a great day. It was not a, “I am woman, hear me roar,” sort of day either. It was the sort of day where you reflect on your life and wonder how the hell it got to this state. And then you drink a bottle of wine, which is totally appropriate.
While both the journey to Versailles and Lisa tried to murder me today, I refuse to be conquered or killed. If I want to do something badly enough, I'll make it happen. Just a shout out to my would-be murderess: Thanks for letting me call that Uber so I wouldn't go on a tri-state (or whatever its French equivalency is) murder spree.