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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Bloody Valentine

Two years ago today, I shared a 100 square-foot tenement apartment with someone who smelled like blood and fish heads. That's not an exaggeration. He worked for 17 hours a day in a kitchen for no pay, muddling through a foreign language, and really did come home smelling like actual blood and fish heads. We lived in an attic without heat in an immigrant section of Paris above a bar called The Titty Twister where our 17 year old Tunisian neighbor whose only English was rap lyrics from The Game bartended and slipped us drinks we would otherwise not have been able to afford. We were friends with a motley crew of international students who were equally poor and at night, the lot of us would go to a dive bar that served cheap beer and showed a nature documentary featuring a whale leaping up out of the water to eat a seal. The documentary was shown on a 20 minute loop and every time the whale got his seal, we would drink and shout and hug each other as if we hadn't seen our dear, dear friends in years. As the nights wore on and our group gradually turned pink from drinking and laughter, our friends would forget their English and I would forget my French and we would be stuck drawing pictures and trying to communicate in a jumbled up mess of Portuguese and Turkish and Hebrew and wild hand gestures.

Two years ago today in our heatless, spaceless attic apartment, our water was cut off, ruining what promised to be the most perfect home-cooked gourmet Parisian meal that had ever been prepared in a kitchen located in a home office located in a closet located in a bedroom. With no other choice, we went to the only place in the city of love that you can go without a reservation on Valentine's Day - the Indiana Tex Mex Cafe - where for the low, low price of $75 (seriously, that's what we really paid), you can buy two burrito plates that came directly from someone's microwave, two watered down margaritas, and all of the subtitled Nelly videos you can handle. That night my bloody valentine and I walked through a foreign city, holding hands and laughing from our guts at how life was good...no, great...despite the debt and the cold and the language barrier and the fish head smell and the mice who shared our humble abode.

I woke up this morning filled with gratitude to have those memories and smiled all day long, thinking about how good it is to feel alive. I love Valentine's Day from the bottom of my heart.


At 11:23 PM, Blogger Leahtard said...

You're one of the few people who actually understand true romance.

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous M. said...

This is my most favorite Valentine's Day story EVER! That guy who propsed to his girlfriend on Broad Street last year while wearing a full suit of armor and riding horse ain't got nothin' on you. Seriously... love this story.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Agreed! Great story!


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