Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bonsoir Paris!

Last night covered in the blanket of chill known as November and one of my favorite black scarves I stepped off a lift and into one of the most stunning sites natural eyes can capture. I stood on the second level of the Eiffel Tower and looked out at the City of Lights knowing fully in that moment how she was named. As aesthetically fantastic as a woman as she is by day, she is simply striking at night. I stood in awe. Far as the eye could see it, it was beautiful.

I didn’t know when I got on the plane a few days ago what it would mean for me to go to Paris, France. I only knew that for years it had been a place that I’d seen on television, in books and films and said I wanted to visit some day. Other than that and the opportunity to help a friend celebrate her 30th birthday I had not put much thought in what it meant for me to make the trek.

Now that I am home, in the comfort of my own home, in my room with the candle burning I have a better understanding of what it meant to me and for me.

After I arrived back home this evening I began plowing through my emails and found a reply from my mother to the email I sent her as soon as I found a computer in Paris to let her know that I’d arrived safely. In her note back to me she said that she was glad that I’d made it safely, to be careful and have a good time. She also shared, that years ago when she was in high school that she had studied French and always dreamed of going to Paris some day. I have the most wonderful mother. And at 54 she has never left the US and traveled the world, yet I know she would do anything in the world for me. Thinking of her email makes me want to cry and fulfill her dream.

Sunday night I ventured to the popular party for gay men of color. I admit I’d gone in hopes of seeing gorgeous black Frenchmen and what I saw was something more intriguing. Fellowship. The men of color party wasn’t dominated by black Frenchmen but was probably split equally between them and Arab men. For every 15 or 20 minutes of the typical American hip hop and dance music there was equal time allotted for more popular songs from Arab nations and the music for the most part was enjoyed by all. During one song I stood as a cultural observer, so enchanted, curious and pleased at what I saw in front of me. There was a long line of Arab men on the dance floor and another opposite of them – but still facing them. One line would dance and walk close to the other so that each dancer would be almost eye to eye with their counterpart in the other line and before they would get too close they would march backward to the beat. To see their movements, smiles and exaggerations was delight – because you could tell they were delighted. And also free. I have been to parties with gay black men, gay Latino men and Asian Pacific Islanders but never one heavily attended by Arab men. While we are all gay, there are nuances to our interactions, socialization, beliefs and even the way we party that draw on our ethnic heritage and traditions. I was happy to be a student.

I looked at Aziza once during the trip and couldn’t imagine anyone else sitting across from me. It was my first trip to Paris and I don’t think anyone else would have been as an appropriate companion than her. She and I talk about love, romance and living our truths in a way and with a frequency that I don’t think I do with anyone else. We have helped each other lick the wounds of loves hard lashes after being beaten and bathed each other with exciting words that make us tingle and giggle when romance has showered her rain upon us. Romance is usually on our tongues and Paris is the language.

It meant a lot for me to go to Paris. Now that I’m home it even means I must decide where I want to go next.