I had such surreal, cocktail-induced dreams on Friday night, that by Saturday morning I was no longer sure which conversations had actually taken place at the blogmeet and which were the warped inventions of my pickled brain.
Sadly I think I really did quiz La Coquette about the virtues of Colgate whitening strips for about ten minutes (my apologies). And for your information, we two were the last standing – but, to be fair, this had more to do with many people having to dash off to catch the last train home to the ‘burbs, and should not be construed as a reflection of their staying power in general.
I arrived at the bar – Klein Holland in the Marais – a little after the appointed hour and was afflicted with a severe case of rabbit in the headlights syndrome as I walked hesitantly over to the large table around which (what I supposed was) our group had congregated. “You’re petite right?” someone guessed, (I wonder why?). I nodded affirmatively. Introductions followed but I remained in a state of shellshock for several minutes and I don’t think I managed to form a grammatically viable sentence until I’d had a few sips of my first cocktail. There’s something very surreal about meeting people in the flesh who are privy to your innermost thoughts, yet have no idea what you look like, or sound like in person (awfully British apparently).
Inevitably, because of the fantastic turnout, I didn’t manage to have a proper chat with everyone present, and for this reason alone we will have to do it again. Iain deserves a special mention for daring to join us at all – although thankfully a couple of bloggers did bring their other halves, so he wasn’t the only male for long. One thing I did notice is that I found it easier to continue calling people by their blog pseudoynms, as the labels seem to have well and truly stuck.
As for me, I felt absurdly comfortable being ‘petite’ and, after referring to Mr Frog and Tadpole by their real names a couple of times, I soon reverted back to using their blognames as well. I think blogging takes place in a sort of Donnie Darko-esque parallel universe, and the blogmeet definitely took place in that other place.
Saturday morning can best be summed up using the term ‘tired and emotional’. Or as the French sometimes say, “j’avais mal au cheveux” (my hair hurt). Mr Frog phoned from the TGV to say that his train would be delayed. I decided to press on to Gare de Lyon regardless and settled myself in a café opposite the station to people watch and eat the closest thing to an English breakfast on the menu: a croque madame. (It doesn’t really come close, but I found it helpful all the same.)
I was impatient to see my daughter again after our longest separation, but it wasn’t until a girl only a little older than Tadpole, with similar curly blond hair, stopped in front of the café window and stared in my direction that the desire to see her started to feel like a physical craving. I waved and smiled at the little girl, and then headed into the station to stake out the platform and start my waiting vigil. When the train finally pulled in, I ran (people who know me well will realise how out of character this is) to voiture 13 and immediately caught sight of Mr Frog. I leapt up the steps and a little warm bundle hurled itself into my arms. Suddenly the floodgates opened.
Granny p (see Friday’s comments) was right. Motherhood and schizophrenia have a lot in common. Some people had commented the previous night that they couldn’t quite imagine me as a mum. And I had been secretly feeling rather guilty that I hadn’t spent the whole week pining. Was it normal to feel gleeful that I could get up a little later, and run errands after work? Was I totally selfish and un-maternal? But as soon as I laid eyes on her, the shockwave hit and it was like being punched in the ribcage.
Last night, vegetating on the sofa in front of a DVD (Paycheck: I like Philip Dick’s novels but I hate plastic ‘Ken’ Affleck so verdict is not good I’m afraid), I felt such a sense of relief and comfort to know that my little girl was sleeping right there in the next room. I could go and peek any time I wanted to, and listen to her gently snoring.
That has to be my current definition of happiness.