4 Bottles of Red Wine in Montmartre

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montmartreOn my third night in Paris, I met a heavy metal dude from Scotland. He had long hair that covered the top third of his Iron Maiden t-shirt and hand rolled his own cigarettes. I’ve always secretly wished to be a heavy metal guy myself, to say “screw it all!” and walk around looking like I was in a Motorhead cover band. This guy I met in Paris was super cool. Laid back, with an intensely thick accent. We sat in the hostel bar and ordered bottles of red wine. One, two, three. The wine was causing us to be loud. It was after two in the morning and the hostel kicked us out, shoeing us off. We bought another bottle of wine and staggered down the streets of Montmartre. It was raining, lightly. The metal dude took out his phone and started playing “Surrealistic Pillow” through its small speakers. The music was soft, like we were in the parking lot of a Jefferson Airplane concert in 1968. We drank and sang. Ohhhhh you’re my, best – you ARE my best friend – we slurred the lyrics and swayed. Nobody else was out on the streets and it was dark. He smoked another cigarette and then he sat down on a bench and starting vomiting. I swigged from the bottle and told him it was okay. Halfway through the bottle, drunk as hell, I sat on the bench myself and puked wine all over the street. The metal dude laughed and we drank until the bottle was empty. I talked about going to Scotland. Why not? I’d always wanted to go to Scotland. And I’d have to see my new best friend in the whole world, the metal guy, couldn’t abandon him. He was thrilled. We started making plans. The rain picked up a little bit and we began walking back to the hostel, holding each other up. The next morning my head pounded, wine slamming my brain against the walls of my skull. The metal dude was leaving Paris, and he wrote his email on a little slip of paper, gave it to me, and about twenty minutes later he was gone and so was that little slip of paper because I’d lost it.

Ah well. Friends always seem to fade away, I’d just accelerated the process by losing his contact information. I didn’t even remember his name. I’ve had a lot of friendships drift apart after two, three years…this one was kaput after two days. Is there really that much of a difference? It occurred to me that I wouldn’t be going to Scotland, but damn, that was a hell of an exciting trip to plan. I went and saw Rodin’s Thinker and then the Eiffel Tower, and when it got dark, I sat in the hostel bar and found new people to drink with.

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A Bow and Bandages

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Melanie had a giant vat of Cheeseballs in her living room, and she poured some in a bowel for us to eat while we watched television.  Cheeseballs are Melanie’s favorite snack; I reached into the bowel to have a few and she slapped my hand.

“No!” she said.  “Use fork!”  Melanie handed me a fork.  Trying my best to just go with it, I impaled a Cheeseball and ate it.  “It’s better that way,” Melanie said.  “Using the fork makes it very clean.”

Spending a lot of time with an Asian girl leads to many moments like this, quirky touches a guy like me doesn’t have the creativity to make up.  Melanie (who was dubbed that by her English teacher in high school) eats Cheeseballs with a fork so she doesn’t get cheedle on her fingers.  She told me she learned English by watching Gossip Girls and One Tree Hill.  She is from Taiwan but lives in Korea.  When I asked her how to tell the difference between a Chinese girl and a Korean one, she said, “You must look at the clothes.  If she is naked, it is impossible.”

Melanie and I met at a dance club.  It was her birthday.  We did a few shots and eventually exchanged numbers before Melanie passed out face down on the bar and was carried off by some big Korean dude.  For two weeks we didn’t meet but talked to each other on the phone.  She constantly spoke about teaching me Korean.  Melanie is a translator; she speaks Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese.  Currently, she works with a Korean television actor, translating interviews with him for Chinese and Japanese magazines.

Eventually she and I met up one night, and we had a lot of fun drinking at a bar and playing pool.  Melanie’s English was good enough to hold a decent conversation, and she looked extremely cute with a little bow in her hair.  We made plans to meet again.  But since this is Topiclessbar, you can’t expect things to work out, right? 

On what was really our first date, Melanie had an enormous scab on her lower lip and her right eyelid was red and swollen.  I asked her about her lip and she said, “It was from kissing you.”  I was astonished.  We had barely kissed, and I didn’t recall biting a chunk of her lip off.  Eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant and having coffee together, I let the lip and the eyelid slide because Melanie was terribly sweet, funny, and endearing.  We made future plans and started spending a good deal of time together.

The lip, however, was just the beginning of her physical problems.  Fooling around in bed one night, I took Melanie’s bra off to find one of her nipples bandaged.  “It is scratched,” she said.  The next week, Melanie came to my apartment in a back brace.  “I hurt my waist,” she told me.  She had been to the hospital earlier in the day to have her back worked on.  I’m not sure what procedure they did, but when I looked at her back, it was covered in large red ovals.  Melanie could barely walk or even lay down.  “I am a patient,” she said, and I felt bad because she had ridden the bus an hour with that bum back just to see me.

The physical problems perhaps could’ve been overlooked had they not had such an effect on our sex life, or lack thereof.  At first, Melanie said she could not have sex in her apartment because she lived there for twelve years and didn’t “want any memories” to spoil the place.  Then, at my apartment, her back hurt too much to do anything.  Finally, I just asked her bluntly what the problem was.

“Why can’t we have sex?” I asked.  “Are you a virgin?”

Melanie paused and thought.  She said she didn’t know how to say it in English.  She went over to the computer and used the translator.

“My womb is hurt,” she told me.

“What?” I said, confounded.  “Your womb?  What happened?”

“It is stress,” she said.  “My womb is very painful.”

That wasn’t the only physical manifestation her stress had taken.  One night she took my hand and put it on the back of her neck.  There were several large red bumps there.  “Jesus,” I said, “what is that?” 

“It is from stress,” she said, her body going all Black Swan on her, “because I cannot see you every day.”

I began to feel terrible about my relationship with her.  She called me and texted me all the time, came to my apartment and cleaned it, bought me a scarf when she thought I looked cold, and did many other incredibly nice things.  Still, as much as I tried to force myself into adoring her that same way, I couldn’t.  I began to wonder if I would actually prefer to be with a girl who wasn’t all that nice to me but would sleep with me.  Could I really be that shallow? I had found a girl who was loving and kind, and who wanted to be with me.  The situation got depressing and I started feeling sad when I was around her.  This girl was so good, we got along so well, and still there was no way I could go on seeing her.  Not with that womb.

Melanie and I are still friends.  We talk a few times every week and we have a nice relationship.  She’s such a wonderful human being, and if I was a better person, she would be my lady.  I suppose we all have someone like Melanie in our pasts, or maybe we’ve been the Melanie for somebody else.  I’m talking about the person who gets rejected for not being good enough, when really they’re so much better than the whole damn world. 

Or at least better than the person doing the rejecting.

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