I can’t recall the exact moment it happened. It didn’t happen overnight, I don’t think.
Paris. Paris had been my idea apparently. This, too, I couldn’t recall. I had grown tired. Tired of trying. Trying to communicate in a foreign language; tired of living out of a backpack; tired of not knowing if we would be able to scrape enough Euros together to buy a piece of bread. I was tired of being resented by the locals for trying to imitate their culture.
“You’ve changed.” he muttered to me one evening.
I thought this was the very point of travelling – to change. Now, he resented me for it. I assumed that this whole experience was so that two people who had no idea what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives could figure it out.
I had. He didn’t. Or perhaps this is what he wanted – the life of a nomad. His pale blue eyes lit up every time we boarded a train. His fingers moved in intricate gestures as he tried new vocabulary in Italian or French or Chinese. This is what he wanted, this life.
I pretend to sleep now as he fumbles in the dark of our dingy hotel room overlooking the city of Paris. It is beautiful, especially at night.
I feel his damp palm against my cheek. His breath smells faintly of red wine and cheese. His thumb wipes across my eyebrow, but he presses slightly too hard over my eyelid and I panic. I would have woken up by now if I had been asleep, but we both pretend I’m not a light sleeper.
He raised his voice at me this afternoon. He’s never done that before. He says I’ve given up on my dream. I want to abandon our life for a soul-draining office job. He doesn’t understand.
I told him that his accusations aren’t fair. No one only dreams once. Our minds created various lucid scenarios, some we don’t even remember.
He says I’m a fool if I think a laptop and desk will make me happy. But I’m not happy now, so I don’t know if he would like me to keep pretending that I am.
In any case, my bag is packed and my plane ticket booked. This year has served its purpose.
He discovered a gypsy at heart while I did not. Paris no longer holds life’s meaning to me.
Paris a mes souvenirs mais il a son coeur.