At times I feel I'm watching my life as a movie, watching patiently as the scenes unfold.
I'm the lead who moved to Paris, a young woman with blonde hair, bad habits, and a broken heart. I'd like to think of myself as Amelie, but this is a different film. We're not in Montmartre, we're in the 16th arrondissement and I'm an au pair.
Sometimes being here feels unreal.
I felt the plot of my film thicken when the brother of my ex-boyfriend showed up in Paris. He sleeps in my bed and yet it is innocent. A friendship forms. It is comfortable and easy. Still, in watching the film you wonder if something will come of it.
Life in Paris goes on. Faces become more familiar, the kids grow to like me, I grow to love them, and I get to know most the staff at the local grocery store. Even things I onced hated become pleasant.
And then all of a sudden people from my past start showing up. A friend from highschool is coming to Paris on Friday. He's going to spend four nights with me. Last night my Columbian friend called. I hadn't seen him since I first arrived, and the familiarity of his voice through the phone stunned me. Then today, on the metro, a young woman climbed on, another Columbian I met three summers ago and have not seen since.
I felt strange all day, and not having work, wandered the city dazed. Sometime in the evening, when I was about to head home from dinner, I decided to see a movie instead.
I walked up the street to the movie theater when someone called my name. I turned to see a man with dark unruly hair, a large hat, a cigarette and a smile, sitting casually on the side of an entrance to a parking lot. Too relaxed and happy to be a Parisian, it took me a second to register him. The pizza man. Father of the ex and his brother.
I knew that the whole family had come up to Paris, but hadn't expected to see them. This morning I thought how strange it would be to come across them accidentally. I wanted to see them, but I wasn't sure if I could handle seeing a face I grieved over.
We talked, updated on each others lives, and he told me that both his sons were just about to come out of a movie. We waited, and then out they walked: the two tall, dark haired brothers, both grinning at the sight of me.
I'd thought so much about seeing his face that it was strange to see the reality of it. I felt no pang in my heart, no weakness, and only comfort in seeing his smile. His smile lets you know immediately that he's a good person. I'll always love him for that.
I kissed cheeks, said hello, asked about the movie, wished them a good stay, and then went to hunt down a movie of my own.
But I couldn't see a movie after that. I had to walk it out. I walked fast, confused, thoughts dancing through me. Past the restaurants, bars, and old men with eyes for young women. I walked in and out of shops, confusing salespeople by walking in, not even looking at anything, and then walking out.
What happens now in the movie? Does she go get drunk? Does she run after them? Does she walk out into the street and get hit by a car?
No. She, I, took the metro home, not knowing where else to take myself. Thinking about familiar faces. About the meaning of all of this. About where I want to take this film.
While I was thinking about this a young man got into my metro car. Another face I knew. Not someone I've spoken to, but a man with a serious, interesting face, a mixed race, who wears a suit but also a backpack, that I had already spent a long metro ride observing.
What does it all mean?
The lead gets off the metro, walks out into the street, past the Patisserie, into the apartment building, and walks up the stairs that lead to her room. She doesn't turn on the stairway lights. She walks quickly in the dark, trying to make sense of her thoughts.
It must be a good movie, because I have no idea how it all ends.