I had begun looking forward to Paris so much that time had started to do the infuriating thing where it seems to speed up and slow down at the most inconvenient times. While we had Paris, Megan and I had a purpose.
We could make ourselves busy making lists of things to pack, checklists of things to do before we’d travel. It was great, for once I wasn’t focussing on the crushing reality that our relationship seemed to have come to a grinding halt, or worse that there wasn’t even a relationship left.
I’ve been accused many times of bringing up the lack of intimacy, the lack of sex in our relationship and putting unecessary pressures on us. I guess that’s both true and a bit much.
For me, it’s one of many ways I like to feel close to the person I love. It should be fun, spontaneous and easy as breathing. We had literally been spending less and less time being intimate with each other. It had been one of the warning signs for me. The one that Megan would fixate on and say it’s all about sex. It wasn’t.
We had spent months without really touching each other. Is it any wonder I began to feel scared for our relationship? When I was so used to things being as easy as breathing, hearing Megan promise she’d never get tired of how incredible we could be together?
I didn’t want to let myself hope that Paris could be the fuel to relight that particular fire, I knew our problems were bigger than that. Even worse, I didn’t want to end up in one of those awful situations where everything feels awkward because sex is expected. Like on our anniversary or on my birthday. Both which were only days away.
By the time we were heading off to Paris we had probably only spent one night together like that in the past four months. It was recent enough that it was easy enough for me not to get my hopes up when it came to our Anniversary.
In all honesty, I can’t tell you how we celebrated one year together. Perhaps there were flowers, there was definitely a couple of cards. I was just so surprised and relieved we had made it. It was crazy how different I felt when just six months before I could easily have seen me asking Megan to share the rest of her life with me. Now I could only just manage to get by week to week without feeling completely useless and unloved.
I needed the time off work more than anything by this time. It was the end of our ‘holiday’ year at work and it’s always nice to have some time reserved at the end to escape just when it’s getting mad. I still couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong at work, I couldn’t care enough to find out.
at length, the day came for our departure to Gay Paris. We’d gotten through our anniversary without any arguments. Megan had packed and re packed her suitcase to make sure all my presents would fit in. My birthday cards were stashed away, I wasn’t allowed to open them until it was actually my birthday.
Somewhat last minute I had decided to book us into a hotel nearer Kings Cross. We had to be on a ridiculously early train, it was the best way to get a great price. The hotel was very shabby to say the least and we were both glad it was just for one night.
What that also meant was that we arrived in Paris incredibly early. Far too early for our 3pm check in. We went to the key collection office anyway on the off chance we might get lucky and be able to pick them up sooner. We decided to tote our luggage with us across the city, and we walked.
It was quite a trek. By the time we found the ticket office we were half way to the Champs Élysées. I think Megan was a little overwhelmed, she’d hadn’t ever really experienced anything like it before and it was a bit of a culture shock for her. As always, I found the differences amusing, I particularly liked the Coke cans and bottles with the distinctly French names all over them.
By the time we got to the check in office we were told our apartment wasn’t ready and to come back at three. We still had our cases in hand but there was nothing left to do, we would have to explore to while away the time.
We must have walked miles that first day. We ended up grabbing lunch at Maccy D’s on the Champs Élysées then after we’d enjoyed the much needed refreshment getting grossed out when we spotted cockroaches in the restaurant area. We didn’t go back there in a hurry all week.
We even walked all the way down to the Eifel Tower. I think it’s a pretty impressive landmark, it’s so iconic. It’s literally the first thing I think most people think of when they think of France. We started documenting our trip as we wondered around the city snapping pictures from across the river.
My parents had been to Paris many years before and given us some maps and tour books to help us find our way around without incurring ridiculous roaming charges on our phones. Although we didn’t seem to get lost much really, not even that first day.
Soon enough 3pm came around and we spent the afternoon retracing our steps, then finding that our apartment was at least a good mile or two in the opposite direction we had been wandering in all day. We got to the apartment which was just a little way from the Louvre, in the middle of a small Japanese area of the city.
The apartment was a studio and very basic.the shuttered windows opened up onto a communal courtyard in the middle of the building. We were definitely living the Paris life. There were plenty of nearby shops and restaurants so once we were settled and fed we decided to try out a nearby restaurant and see more of the city by night.
with the morning would come my birthday. We had planned to take a trip up the Eifel tower after taking the long leisurely walk along the river. The first night there we were exhausted. I felt like we had already seen most of what Paris had to offer in our walking tour of the city. Megan still seemed a little overwhelmed.
I just hoped she’d get over that and enjoy the holiday that she had looked forward to for so many years, even before I as even such a significant part of her life. Paris is the city of love, I also hoped we might rediscover that while we were there.