This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
5th March, 2020
I have 10 days in Paris.
After moving out of that morbid hostel, I move to a friend’s couch.
I’d met Carlo in Mexico – he was one of my 3 close friends that I made in Oaxaca. The 4 of us met one night in a hostel in Oaxaca and hit it off so well that we decided to go to Puerto Escondido together. We braved through 12 hours of a very bumpy bus ride and enjoyed the next few days of amazing beach weather and vibes.
While I stayed in Puerto Escondido for another week, All of 3 of them left to go back to Paris, Bristol and Morocco. They invited me over their cities, and here I was, accepting one of the invitations.
Carlo had a nice, cosy apartment in District 9 of Paris. I slept on his sofa bed and after his work, we would go out for long walks around Paris. He showed me the Eiffel tower.
We walked around Paris for days, and every day it rained. Paris seemed determined to match how I felt inside. To make matters worse, covid had just begun hitting Europe hard. The museums were all closed – including the Louvre. It was the one thing I was looking forward to visit in Paris.
Instead, I stood outside the Louvre for hours testing out my phone’s zoom functions and taking photographs of the statues. That cheered me up quite a bit.
We came to this bridge where it’s well-known for people to come and put locks.
I walk around and look at some of them.
Many of them are dated in 2017, 2018 and 2019 but one of them dated 1945.
Carlo asked me, “How’re you feeling?” He knows about Gideon and me. He knows that I’m on a path of healing.
“I feel like this weather. Gloomy and dark, but the rain is just light rain, it’s not a thunderstorm anymore”
“I like that. Many people think that Paris is the most romantic city in the world, and they think many things of this city. But the truth is that it is only romantic for people who can afford it. I came here 10 years ago from Colombia, and I had nothing. I had to sleep in a shared room with 3 of my cousins for 2 years before I managed to find a job that paid me enough to rent a small room. It took me 8 years – 8 years to get to where I am now.”
“What do you work as again, Carlo?”
“I’m a product designer. I help companies make models of things they want to build. I’m already 38 and yet I’m working with people who are 25, 26. Sometimes I think it’s embarrassing. But then I remember that my life here is 100 times better than my family back in Colombia.”
From walking around in Paris with Carlo, I realized that Paris is only romantic when you come with someone you love. Or when you have alot of love for yourself. Right now, I had neither, so Paris wasn’t romantic to me at all.
My first trip to Paris however, was about friendship. It was about realizing that people are handed different lives at birth. We all have different starting points and yet we all can arrive at the same point at the end.
I look at the different locks placed by different couples and I think about all of the people who came from all over the world to place these locks.
In my imagination, I place a locket there for Gideon and I. One for the memories. I thought about love and why we always think relationships have to endure all time.
Relationships don’t – but love can.
Love endures all time.
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