the slow eschaton

It is your tenth month in this place. You have moved apartments, thrown away old clothes, replaced them — and yet still you are here. In this endless moment that is also a beginning. The slow eschaton. 

Your friends have left you. Scattered across the country, hiding in place. You Zoom them sometimes and it makes your heart light to see their faces through the digital fog. You crave an intimacy you cannot name, the dim warmth of sitting besides, facing another person. You are always cold, even when the heat is blasting in your apartment. Your cat (or a friend’s cat) sits on your lap, but you do not feel her warmth.

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notes from a trip to Paris

I am writing to you from the research library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. As of today (Tuesday, January 8, 2019) I have only two days left in France. After returning, I’ll spend an evening in New Jersey, sleeping and doing laundry before returning to equally cold New Haven for yet another semester of grad school. I must admit, I’m not looking forward to going back. My time in Paris has been enjoyable. Besides not really having a taste for French food, I haven’t had anything negative to say at all. My ability to speak French (I’ll go into this in more detail below) grants me access to an anonymity that I imagine many American tourists cannot enjoy. When speaking to someone, they do not do the tourist thing with me, switching to English in order to facilitate communication. I have only had this happen one time during my time in Paris, and that was when I prompted a librarian in English about how to reserve my seat and access my texts. When on the trains, I find that I am not typically flagged as a non-Francophone foreigner, and I wonder if this is because of racial dynamics which encode what a Black person is and does in France. I won’t be able to really pick this apart in the next two days, but it’s food for thought.

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