Tall French is in Bangkok, her Facebook told me so. Though she hasn’t got in touch with me – hadn’t got in touch with me, when I was there all of March (I’m in Bali for April, then Hong Kong for a quick week, and then Taiwan for all of May).
I’m not surprised; I left things – I left her – in a pretty shitty way in Athens, Greece, last September.
(What the fuck kind of life is this? All of these women in all of these locations… It seems exhilarating and impressive, but I swear to fucking god, it’s just all sort of ordinary and mundane when you’re actually living in it. Most days, I’m trying to find a Wi-Fi connection to work and watch Netflix.)
The last time I saw her, I gave her an apathetic hug at the front door of her hotel in Athens, after we explored the city that night. The thing was that I didn’t want to see her. In my mind, we were finished. Our mock-honeymoon was over, and now I was on deadline to produce Zoomer Magazine’s monthly iPad app, a gig that took me like, 8 hours a day for a whole five days to complete. (That’s a seemingly normal work week, but you gotta understand – I typically put in, like, 20 hours per week and call it a month).
So I didn’t want to see her but I went to go see her because I felt bad that she was in the city alone, when I was a few blocks away from her in my cozy own AirBNB living my own life. I knew that she liked me, and I felt guilty for it. So I said, I’ll finish work early on Saturday, let’s go out and grab dinner and drinks before your flight the next morning.
We met for dinner in a cool neighborhood she found on her solo wanderings where five streets merged into a roundabout, with an artfully-vandalized fountain in the center. She wore a cute black dress and heels, the first time she wore those on the entire trip so far. Her trying to look good for me made me feel even more guilty.
I had her hooked on my favorite Greek dishes: pork souvlaki and saganaki. Alright, shit, they’re probably the most common Greek dishes – but she’s never had them, especially growing up in a Muslim household.
(That, too, could be one of my greatest achievements: getting a Muslim girl hooked on pork. In the beginning she declined my offers of pork souvlaki, but she saw the sheer happiness and gusto when I would sink my teeth into it. So one day we were eating on al fresco in some small fishing town on the south side of Crete. We ordered what we usually did – her, salad; me, pork souvlaki plate. I took a bite-sized piece of pork and placed it onto a torn triangle of pita, added a bit of her vinegary Greek salad, sprinkled some feta, spooned some fresh tzaziki and then – this is key – inserted a couple of French fries.
I shoved it into her mouth and her eyes bulged, popped from her fucking head. The salty pork with the crispy fries with the tangy tzaziki and fresh tomatoes – Jesus fucking Christ, she loved it.) We chose a restaurant in an alleyway and sat at the al fresco table and ordered the usual, our last chance to compare pork souvlakis and saganakis before she was off to France and me to Croatia.
Tall French does this thing, and I’m still unsure if it’s a personality trait of hers, or of her culture. I hear all the time that French people are these arrogant, difficult, stubborn people – and she’s all of these things – but I can’t help but to think that it can’t be the entire fucking country; it’s gotta be her. Well, it doesn’t matter either way, because she’ll do this thing regardless: be antagonistic as fuck. And then when I’m on the defensive, be even more antagonistic.
(We talked about this before: she gets like this when she’s nervous.)
The next few hours were difficult for the both of us. We tried drinking to get in the mood – or perhaps out of our mood – but it wasn’t happening. The alcohol didn’t take, it just amplified our bad moods. So at 10pm I walked her back to her hotel, because my mother would still want me to have manners. So I walked her back to her hotel and gave her a weak hug and no kiss and said goodbye and emailed her the next day on what she owed me for all the shit that I put on my credit card.
So Tall French was in Bangkok and I was in Bangkok but we both know better.
Goddamnit, that body.