365 Days In Paris: Just Like Riding A Bike

Sometimes the best thing for a broken heart is to take that heart to the bar and to get it really, really drunk.

I spent most of the past week in bed. It’s not as bad as it sounds—it wasn’t like I was crying every night (or at all), but I was just in a place where I couldn’t get out of my thoughts about me and Alex. I knew it would have been healthier to try and do some wholesome socializing, but I just put my head down, devoted myself to work, and thought about what it means to let someone out of your life. I finally decided to take me and my deep thoughts out when, on Wednesday, Dani called to invite me to get cous cous in the 10th. It sounded mellow and uneventful, so I threw on my boots and a sweatshirt without a second thought.

Little did I know that “getting cous cous” meant going to a lively bar with a group of people and getting wasted …We were joined by Erica, Dani’s husband, and her friend Max who was visiting from the States, along with two other couples. Squeezed into the packed place, which was an old-school bohemian joint with overly-friendly owners, the booze began flowing and the yelling and laughing and debating came with it. At one point, Erica made what felt like a profound statement at the time: “Hey guys! We have friends! Isn’t this amazing? We called some people, invited them to dinner, and they all came and wanted to hang out with us! We should all move into an apartment together—we’d be L’Auberge Espagnole.” It was funny, but she did have a point—we were expats who had managed to build meaningful relationships that attached us to each other and to our city, Paris.

Somewhere around midnight and my fourth glass of wine, we realized that we were going to miss the metro, so the logical reaction was to make a real night of it, and just keep drinking. What happened next was interesting …

Max and I stepped outside to get some air. Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me remember what we were talking about, but all of a sudden, something inside me clicked, and I realized that I found Max attractive. Very attractive. To the point where my mind jumped ahead and I pictured myself back in the States with him as my boyfriend. (Oh come on, like you don’t do this with every good potential you meet.) There was definitely something flirtatious going on, which I could have misinterpreted as just friendly drunk talk, but it didn’t matter. For a full five minutes, I didn’t think of Alex. And when the thought of Alex did come back into my head, it was this: You can fall in love again. You can find people who will make you feel obsession and lust. And you can find people who will feel the same way about you.

I would have never made a move on Max, but if for some reason he did, I knew it would have been something that I’d actively want. Not to “try to get over someone,” but because I just got a good feeling.

After he finished his cigarette, he squeezed my shoulders, and lead me back inside. By now it was almost 3 a.m., and we gathered up our stuff to leave. I assumed we’d all get into a few taxis, but Dani’s husband seemed to think that the best idea would be to take the Vélib—rental bikes that you can pick up and drop off all over Paris. Instantly, my heart began pounding. Bike riding scares the crap out of me. And I couldn’t see straight. And even at the lowest seat setting, the bike was too big for my 5-foot frame. I am going to die tonight, I thought.

I only fell over twice. And as they say, you just have to get back on the bike.