We were driving through the famous tunnel where Princess Diana was killed. “She should have taken a taxi, but that the asshole she was with insisted they take the chauffeur who’d been drinking,” he added proudly.
I translated for the young man beside me, my friend’s cousin, a music publicist in Paris for the night. His company covered the entire evening’s expenses. I sat blissfully throughout a three-course meal, going from drink to drink, knowing that none of my nanny funds would be going towards the bill.
The taxi carried us down into the darkness of the tunnel, and then came back up for air, gliding along the Seine towards my humble abode. When the lights on the Eiffel tower started to flicker, the face of my travelling companion lit up as well.
I’ve been living a double life. In the day I play nanny, running after two little children, playing soccer in the park, making macaroni, settling disputes and cleaning chocolate off of every surface. At night I strap on my heels and live my own life.
From smoky bars, to trendy restaurants, to bohemian apartments, to crowded dance floors, I’m there. My life has suddenly taken on a pulse.
The other night I found myself nestled comfortably on a sofa in one of my neighbor’s apartments. We’ve been sharing a toilet seat for 8 months, but haven't gotten to know each other until now.
His apartment is small, but bigger than mine. He has black and white photos pinned all over his wall, a hat and scarf collection dangling from hooks and nails, rugby trophies and an old music collection. It turns out he’s a professional comedian, an actor, and something from another time.
It was hard not to look away from his dark eyes, deep pools that seemed to avoid mine. He was charming, his manner gentle and sincere. Over a couple of drinks I learnt that he’s also an insomniac, has two older sisters, comes from the French countryside and helps host reggae concerts in the summer.
No one is a stranger anymore. Last night I found myself moving my limbs to funk on the dance floor with a group of girls I barely knew. I was comfortable. A young girl in flip-flops from Michigan called me the “blonde exotic fruit”. I left in a taxi when a posessive young man wouldn't leave me alone, and headed back through the tunnel of death towards the safety of home.
I’ve been getting to bed later but sleeping a lot more soundly. I think I the cure for insomnia is not to fight it but to take advantage of it instead.
Maybe the reason I find it so hard to sleep is because I want to live my dreams instead. Waiting for them to come, as I lie in bed with my eyes closed and my head spinning, has never worked out well for me.
So I'm going to try to keep moving, because life is too short. I'll sleep when I'm dead.