Paris Is Burning (Part II)

I can’t fully focus on making out with Paris Boy #1 because I’m worried about my small black bag, the only luggage I’ve brought with me to Paris, getting stolen or stepped on. Or who knows what other things can happen to an unattended bag in a gay club in Europe…

I step back and feel another body right behind me. I turn around and see a tall boy with thick, wavy, auburn hair and wearing a loose, black silk button-up. Paris Boy #2. He walks over to Paris Boy # 1, puts his arm around him and whispers in his ear. He slowly rests his forehead on his friend’s head and turns to look at me. He smiles, and I’m almost sure he flashed his tongue. Paris Boy #1 takes a sip of his drink and comes over to talk to me. I’m assuming that Paris Boy #2 doesn’t speak English so #1 has to step in as translator.

“This boy here, he is my boy friend,” he says to me, placing emphasis on the last two words. He wants to make me understand that Paris Boy #2 is not his friend who happens to be a boy; he’s the boy he happens to be fucking. Not a boyfriend. But a boy friend.

I give Paris Boy #2 a genuinely smile, then try to make a joke in my bastardized French. I’ve realized that playing funny is a sure way to show my non-threatening disposition. It’s my last night in France, I’m not going to get involved in a coup d’etat.

But unlike American boys, the French don’t get off on competing with one another, marking territory, claiming possessions. Fucking with each other leaves everyone empty-handed. French boys are more about teamwork and alliance. At least, this is the conclusion I come up with to explain how I went from making out with a boy, to telling jokes to his boy friend to trying to make the couple forget my trespass to what’s happening now: me grinding with both of the Parisians in the middle of the dancefloor. Paris #1 is in front of me with his hands on to my hips and putting his nose up against my cheek. Paris #2 is behind me, grabbing on to his boy friend’s torso and pressing our bodies closer together. Paris Boy #1 is eyeing me like he wants a kiss. So I kiss him, while playing with the back of his neck. I hand him my drink, turn around and place both of my hands on Paris Boy #2’s shoulders, to regain my balance. Then I go in for his lips, slightly higher than mine. I bite his lower lip and then smile while he’s still caressing my mouth with his tongue. I run my fingers through his thick, wavy hair and pull a little.

It’s starting to get really hot, and I can feel my shirt sticking to my sweaty back. The boys and I go over to the bar to get a drink. Paris Boy #2 turns to me and says something in French, something I shouldn’t be able to understand. The sentence is too complex, and the vocabulary is nothing they’d teach me in school. But maybe it’s his body language, getting closer to me with every syllable uttered, or his facial expressions, how his eyebrows rose with excitement after certain words, or his eyes, the way he looked at me and then down at my jeans. I don’t understand what he says, but I understand what he means.

I look over to Paris Boy #1, my original partner, and notice that he too is eager to learn of my response. Yes, these boys are sweaty, sexy. Yes, it would be electrifying to keep playing with them. Ah, a threesome in Paris, every boy’s bubbly daydream.

But no. I have a flight to catch. A flight I can’t miss (again). There will be other sweaty, sexy boys, other electrifying nights, other times to get fully drenched in daydreams. But now, nothing screams reality like starting to get sober and a feeling your watch ticking all the way down on your wrist.

I write down my e-mail address in a wet napkin, and fair the fine boys adieu. My black bag is still where I left it hours earlier.

I wonder if how far we would’ve have gone last night…

“Excuse me, sir? I can’t find your reservation in our system.” And just like that dream is over. The airline attendant at Charles de Gaulle is condescending and British. She’s been having trouble finding my return ticket back to Madrid. But I assure her that she’s oh, so wrong. I mean, how else did I get to Paris.

“I’m sorry, but at this point the only thing I can do is suggest you purchase another ticket,” she tells me.

“But I have a ticket. Here, I have my printed out reservation.”

“Well, it looks like the ticket has been cancelled. I can’t do anything about it here, you need to talk to customer service, I’ll direct you.”

So there I go again– trying to talk my way into a flight back home. The customer representative is even less helpful and way bitchier. She is not going to give me a break. She lives for moments like this. She tells me that since I missed my original, non-refundable flight that my return ticket had been cancelled, and I had no choice but to purchase a new one if I wanted to return to Madrid. The price? 875 euros.

My friends have already boarded their respective flights, I have no one with me, my phone has just died and I have about 35 euros in my bank account. And I’m stuck in Paris.

I go get some coffee to regain my compusure and figure out an escape plan. I have to get on that flight. Boarding is going to commence in a few minutes. No mom, no friends, no money. All I have is this piece of paper stating that I purchased a flight. It’s all on me. I down my coffee, look at the clock above my head, think about the cute Parisian boys, grab my Kenneth Cole bag and stand up. “I’m getting on that flight,” I think and give myself no other option.

With collected bravado, I walk up to the security guard, and flash my reservation and passport. He looks at it, marks it with his red sharpie and lets me through. No questions asked. I wait until the original British girl who denied me my ticket takes her break and find another. She’s brunette and a lot cuter. I give her all my details, and she smiles and says, “Madrid?”

“Si,” I say with the biggest good boy smile I could muster this early in the morning after having my tongue down two cute guys’s thoart (almost at the same time).

“Oh wait…” she says after she catches an indiscretion on the screen, probably a big sign reading: DO NOT LET THIS BOY OUT OF PARIS. And I think, “shit.”

But then she gets distracted by an Italian tourist, bitching and yelling about something. So she steps out for a minute to try to help her co-worker deal with irrational Italian.

And that’s when I see it, my boarding pass. Dangling, freshly printed from my machine. My ticket out. So close, within grasp. I don’t even look around to see who’s watching. I just snatch it and run away.

It’s not until my flight takes off, with me sitting comfortably in my seat, that my hearts stops pounding. I feel like… Matt Damon! I’m a spy.

[Paris Is Burning (Part I)]

Oscar Raymundo
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