I’m back from Paris now, and I wish I wasn’t. It was a brilliant holiday, in spite of the temperamental weather. When we got there I didn’t feel like I was abroad. I was listening in to conversations in the street and on the metro, and I thought I was picking up on more than before. Even though I’ve only been there a handful of times, Paris is like a home from home, or at least, it is in my dreams.
We were there for gay pride, normally not my sort of thing but P loves it, and I’ll admit the atmosphere at Pride in Paris is better than in London. There were lots and lots of sexy men filling the streets there this weekend. I almost forgot about J on Saturday, as I fixed my eyes on every hot specimen that walked and danced past. The march itself was a washout thanks to heavy rain, but in the evening, in the Marais we had a ball. We visited the same little club that we’d been to last year near the Pompidou Centre, where they played all the cheesy French hits that I’ve come to love. I sang along to the words that I knew and I started to feel like I was one of the crowd, a proper Francophone.
My phone hardly stopped buzzing with messages from J all weekend. When we got back to the hotel at about 4am on Sunday I had ten whatsapp messages come through all at once. Without wifi in the Marais I hadn’t had a chance to read or respond to any of them. Hours of no contact seemed to have annoyed J, who’d written “boo” several times.
The attention was nice and I played along, telling him how much I missed him and looked forward to holding him again. He offered to pick me up from St Pancras on my return yesterday night which I thought was really sweet. Secretly I hoped he’d come to my place or invite me back to his this time, rather than driving out to the heath again for the same clandestine fumbling as before.
Yesterday before returning to London P and I did a boat tour of the Paris canals. The sun had come out for the first time all weekend and it was a lovely way to kill the time before our train. We saw parts of Paris we’d never seen before, parts we’d never expected to see. I felt I knew the city a good bit better by the time we were disembarking from the boat by the Bastille.
Some hours later, back in London I said goodbye to P and found J waiting for me outside St Pancras station in his car. I was immediately overcome with the urge to jump on him, though in amongst the hormones and the electricity I felt a slither of doubt clouding my happiness. I tried to ignore it as I threw my suitcase into the trunk and got into the front seat beside him.
Traffic was good last night and we were back here within half an hour. Conversation was as lively as it ever was, though the doubts wouldn’t leave my mind. I tried to tell myself I was just sad at being back in London, facing a return to work and normality. I’ve never been good at lying to myself and underneath the excuses I knew there was something wrong about me and J. When we got to my flat he suggested dinner, after I’d dumped my bags inside. As I climbed the stairs I just wanted to shut the door and stay in – I don’t know why I agreed to dinner and several more hours of the charade.
Over dinner J did his usual thing of complaining about all the corporate companies who’ve pissed him off recently. He’s obsessed with becoming a major player in the food industry so that he can take over his enemies and control them. I listened, nodded and smiled, too tired to try and steer the conversation elsewhere.
After dinner he asked if I wanted to stay with him, and my heart instantly leapt. Was this the invitation to his place that I’d been waiting for? For fifteen minutes I was alive again, participating fully in the conversation whilst stroking J’s knee seductively in the car. Knowing the area where he lives, I wasn’t expecting it to take long to get there. After half an hour I had to give up and accept that whatever his invitation had meant, it wasn’t involving his home. Soon we were back on the heath again, and it became clear that he only meant “stay” in the sense that he always meant it: stay for a few hours with me in the car while we do things that could get us arrested if spotted.
We drove around the heath for ages looking for a relatively unlit spot, but there were none. I prayed he would realise that we were better off going to his place where we could have some real privacy: but it didn’t occur to him. Soon we were back on the main road and speeding out of the city, to a more secluded area that J apparently knew quite well. I guessed he’d brought previous acquaintances there.
Finally we found an empty car park in the middle of a wood with poor lighting, and there we settled into each other’s arms with a romantic sigh. I let things happen, because I was horny and I still wanted him physically, even if I wasn’t sure about him personality wise. Every five minutes or so there were weird noises outside the car; we could see nothing because we were surrounded by trees and darkness. It was a disconcerting experience. I managed to satisfy J’s needs with my body nonetheless. When it was over I didn’t tell him that I would have preferred to make love to him in a bed; I didn’t tell him I was doubting everything because he wouldn’t commit to anything. I went quiet, wanting just to get home and be alone.
We drove back in near silence. J shouted out the window at passing drivers whose driving skills he didn’t like. I felt a way I didn’t think I would ever feel with him: exactly the same way I felt with every pointless sexual encounter I was unlucky enough to have. A part of me died as I realised I’d used and been used, once again. This was it: the end of another waste of time.
Today I had one more day off work, and I haven’t used it wisely. I managed to stay in bed until 1pm, then I spent the rest of it trying to decide what to do. I haven’t had a moment’s break from the stinking thinking: J won’t leave my mind. I’m stuck in the dilemma of what to do. Should I forget him and move on, or should I give him another chance? Should I be honest and say what I want, or is it actually way too soon for that? Perhaps what’s been going on between us so far is perfectly normal; perhaps getting into bed and experiencing full nakedness together is something that should only come later.
I really, really need to know if it’s going anywhere, and I can’t bloody ask him because I’m terrified of finding out. There’ve been a few meaningless messages today, asking how my day is and what I’m doing. No suggestion of when or if we’ll meet again. I’ve decided to leave that up to him. I haven’t the energy to do any more chasing.