petite anglaise

March 13, 2006

bloggerers social?

Filed under: good time girl — bipolarinparis @ 2:53 pm

Once upon a time, I suggested a little bloggerers’ get together, in a bar in Paris. About fifteen female expat bloggers showed up, along with one – very fortunate – male, and a good time was had by all. A few months later, we had a picnic in the Buttes Chaumont. I met lots of lovely, interesting people, even if my very noble intentions about keeping in touch with many of them regularly fell a little by the wayside, what with the to-ing and fro-ing between Paris and Brittany I was indulging in.

It’s been quite a while, and I thought it might be time to envisage another meet up. For girls, boys, expats (or not) who blog and would like to meet up for some drinks, at a secret venue yet to be thought of announced. I’m thinking maybe Saturday 1st April, off the top of my head.

Anyone fancy this?

Drop me a comment or email if you do, and I will send out meeting point details by email nearer the time. All suggestions most welcome, but I think somewhere one can partake of small, alcohol-absorbent nibbly things like tapas might be a good idea. (Because, ahem, I’m a lightweight.)

And I’m hoping that, in addition to the usual suspects, we might even attract some of the new Paris-based bloggerers I have noticed commenting in these parts of late?

Calling readers in Marseille and Nice

Filed under: misc — bipolarinparis @ 10:53 am

I bring you this short respite from the melodrama that has been petite anglaise, of late, to ask a small favour, for a friend. If you live in Marseille or Nice, speak English and are very lovely indeed, please contact me on petite.anglaise@gmail.com and I will explain further.

March 11, 2006

mile high mums’ club

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — bipolarinparis @ 8:55 pm

Tadpole trotted ahead of me down the aisle, as I scanned the seat numbers for row number 20. We passed a motley assortment of pensioners, children in full Disney regalia, couples returning from a romantic weekend in Paris – although some looked as though they had fallen out, possibly over the amount of time Madame wanted to spend shopping – and a couple of pin-striped suits with laptops.

After much stopping and starting, whilst fellow passengers grappled clumsily with hand luggage and coats, seemingly in slow motion, we finally reached our destination. Tadpole clambered across to the window seat and started fiddling with her “strap-on”, while I removed my coat.

I turned and saw an attractive man standing behind me, patiently waiting. He must have been allocated the aisle seat, beside mine. Smiling good naturedly, he offered to stow our coats in the overhead locker, before taking his seat. I contemplated him surreptitiously through my eyelashes. He was roughly my age, at a guess, and dressed in well-cut jeans and casual clothes. Hair a little too carefully gelled for my taste. Carrying a laptop, but also a notepad and pencil.

I rarely strike up a conversation with fellow travellers, but today, maybe I would. At any rate, I was thankful to be seated with the only vaguely civilised person I had spied on the flight.

But as I located the Tadpole entertainment kit, consisting of crayons, drawing book, Dora sticker book and story books, I became aware of a certain restlessness in my travel companion. I sensed him casting around as the plane filled up, gauging whether there were likely to be any free seats left, poised to seize his chance as soon as the doors closed.

And sure enough, he suddenly stood, muttering “I’m just going to move and give you some space. No offence intended.”

“None taken,” I replied, head still bowed, rummaging through my rucksack for a wet wipe.

But I did feel a vague pang of disappointment. Try as I might to shrug it off, I couldn’t help seeing this inconsequential little exchange as portentious; the shape of things to come.

Not simply a woman in my own right, but a mother. Part of a package. This little person – the sum total of what is most precious, most valuable in my life – grounds for rejection.

March 9, 2006

confetti

Filed under: navel gazing, parting ways — bipolarinparis @ 4:12 pm

I was tempted to name my last post “epitaph”. A part of me had been brutally severed. My hopes, my dreams now lay smouldering on a pyre. It seemed fitting.

When I typed those brave-faced words, they were an expression of how I wanted to feel, a few days or weeks or months from now. Something to aspire to. Then, somehow, after hitting the “publish” key, I realised I was genuinely beginning to feel that way.

Taking a step back, looking critically at the last few months, I see that much of my time was spent waiting, feeling despondent about being apart, dealing with the guilt of Tadpole’s impending separation from her father, smothering my doubts with a pillow. Negative feelings which crushed my spirits with all their ominous weight, preventing me from enjoying the here and now.

Now I find myself appallingly fragile, but intact, and somehow lighter. I no longer have to do battle with those demons any more; the weight has lifted. Only now do I see, with startling clarity, how impossible it was to continue following that ghost of a dream.

All the same, much of the past few days remains a blur. As I go about my daily business, my mind is elsewhere, playing my favourite memories in a continuous loop, until I’m ready to lay them to rest. On the surface, I laugh and joke, say positive, brave things, make plans for Tadpole and me. I’m going to buy a little flat, I say. On a whim, I’m going to the South of France for a few days, a holiday of sorts. People are rather surprised at how much better I seem, already. An indecently rapid recovery?

But I can barely bring myself to eat. I go to bed only when I’m thoroughly exhausted, so that I cannot lie awake craving his warmth. His touch. All day long there is a fluttering inside my chest, a constant edge of panic I cannot shake off, but which no-one sees.

This morning, in the crowded métro, a couple caught my attention. I saw their embrace out of the corner of my eye, and something inside me twisted, pulled. I couldn’t tear my masochistic eyes away from the woman, the way she looked at her companion, with hunger. I know I looked at him that way too, once. Sometimes, all I wanted was to crawl inside his skin.

Then, when I reached my destination, I saw another woman, elderly, confused. She stood by a rubbish bin, manically tearing up a piece of paper into smaller and smaller pieces, scattering them on the station floor like ragged confetti. Every few seconds she repeated the same two words, in an identical strangled voice, as if a needle were jumping on a record and playing the same disembodied phrase over and over.

“C’était magique.”

It was. It truly was, for a while. But I refuse to believe that it was my one and only shot at magical. Soon, I will renounce living in the past tense, move on.

Soon.

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