Secrets & Lies

Staying in Nantes was a logistical mess. I'd stayed at a remote hotel. My next hotel was more of a transient motel. So I stayed at one of the dancers for a week. Then I moved into my longest stay, an apparthotel. Everywhere I had stayed or was supposed to stay was in a circle. This time though there we're things around me. I had a bakery, a grocery store and a closer tram stop. I also had a large balcony in my room. I booked the place for 16 days and I took a room for two. While in the states she had convinced me that she would stay at my place when her friends returned. So I made sure to have the room cleaned and maintained for two. This meant extra linens and turning down the sleeper bed. I spent most days sleeping in and then going in my friends direction to meet up later in the afternoons. We also had the dancers keeping us quite busy. And her friends were to return soon. She explained that she may need to get out of their way when they returned and would definately need to stay with me during her finals week. However, having dropped her course I had really didn't know when to expect her, if all. So I pretty much kept the room up just to be alone.

My room in the apparthotel wasn't the best. You could compare it to a happy medium of a Super 8 and the YMCA. I did have tv and a kitchenette. Yet the room had no wi-fi, just a short ethernet cable tied near the rooms lone desk. I found ways to make everything work. I would come in from the grocery store and line the table with my wares. I would turn a little music on my laptop and open up all the windows. I always had something unique to France in the fridge be it slithers of jambon or huge bottles of bierre. It was very dorm like. She and I communicated via Facebook because we both had major phone issues. My sim card never seemed to work and I used all her minutes to contact my bank over my hotel cancellation. So we'd see who was up and figure out how to make the most of the day. Most days I made the trek to her friends house. It was far but her friend had wi-fi and a sweet English bulldog we took turns walking. I did laundry at her friends house and they had a pantry full of supplementals I needed for my simple room. Most afternoons we would both go into the center for our one major meal. Otherwise we lived off of croissant amandes, market pampelmousse, random baguettes du jour and little pots of yogurt. So around 4 PM there was the cafe and around 7 PM someone would be willing to open up for dinner. We would then walk to the Bouffay tram stop and ride back south. She'd get off at her stop and I'd continue onto mines.

The dancers were great company. The one guy who offered his place was always asking us out. Once we met the girlfriend I felt he had no ulterior motives. However, my friend kept asking me my opinion on everything. In my observations, French men weren't very possessive and they liked having their space. So it wasn't anything for them to leave their long term girlfriends at home and go out. You just never knew who was single or attached because no significant others were mentioned. Surely, it was odd but it didn't bother me at all. These nights would go on with harmless conversation among a group of apparently single men and my friend would just eat that up. I noticed very early how much she sought their attention. In NYC, I had to convince her to go out with people who requested her presence. When together she was always pessimistic about invites and anyones intentions when approaching her. Now in France she would follow anyone into a dark alley. One day we were offered to watch the guys rehearse. I like to dance so I asked could a join the counts and one of the guys seemed happy I was even open to it. Most nights I just sat there and my friend talked for me. So it was rare that I seemed remotely interested. I was really looking forward to seeing their studio. So the next day I get up early and got ready to "workout". She tells me to get a tram ticket, we head east and get off in some new section of town. We then walk all around looking for the studio. Meanwhile I'm dressed pretty casually, leggings are rolling down and I'm really baffled as to why were walking in circles. I finally ask does she even know where the studio is. She tells me she overheard the stop they get off at and it must be somewhere nearby. She refuses to call anyone to confirm or deny. I see a group of kids and I ask should we follow them. After a while we just headed back to the center and she never explained that fiasco. The next time we met it was mentioned that the keys to the studio were misplaced long ago so they couldn't rehearse after all. Trust me, I wanted to ask a million questions but I was just as embarrassed as her.  

Then we went on some wild night to a series of clubs. We had been out since around 6 PM so as the night went on it got very cold. Meanwhile, she's so hot and can't stop going on and on about how the night is going. We soon separate in cars and she isn't even concerned about me. We make a few stops and then head to this boardwalk like area where all the clubs have been forced off to. We go inside a hip-hop spot and things are decent. However, I've already been sick and now we're leaving 50 degrees to go into 90 degrees because France is anti air conditioning. We were offered drinks by the main guy but he soon left to take one of his friends home. He didn't announce this so we both stood parched removing items of clothes. She then pawned her clutch on me and I was holding all this crap like the fat friend. I was extremely pissed. I cannot recall what annoyed me the most but I was obviously upset. When he returned I was sitting at the bar with one of the other guys and only he was kind enough to actually get us those drinks. So I'm asking does she want gum or if she'd like a sip of water or two. She began to shove off the water and get really into the music. Meanwhile I sat there with the guys just watching the show. Thankfully in the company of B-boys I could compare the scene with those in the states. In general I was having a pretty good time just irritated with my friend acting all brand new. There was soon some confusion about leaving versus staying. So we wound up outside in the cold amongst smokers. She then began to act like she was on acid peering into the water, excusing herself to run towards the edge and taking selfies. She then came over and awkwardly tied my dress shirt around my neck and asked why I was so cold. I know I shouted at her and the group was sort of put off by it. I just didn't correlate why a few drinks six hours ago and a water bottle later she was morbidly drunk. I also hate being touched and she was sweaty and pawing me like she'd popped a molly. The real icing on the cake was that it was 4 AM and no one wanted to take us home. All trains had stopped and we hadn't even eaten dinner. So after much deliberation in the cold mind you, it was decided that we would all split up. So I then spent another hour with someone who was a poor driver when I had no address for my hotel. Lets just say I was more than irritated with everyone at that point.

Meanwhile, her friends came back. Three things happened that pretty much validated why I shouldn't have done all of the above. First, they immediately walked into the house and asked how my stay was as if I'd been there for the last three weeks. Second, they took us out for an Indian dinner and described how the friendly dancer had been a complete jerk to them while on tour. They hadn't been to his house and he hadn't been to theirs. They pretty much insisted that they barely knew him. They also mentioned asking him about my friend and him saying he didn't know her. Third, they then went into a two hour conversation of bashing people trying to make it in this world. They were creative but loathed others forms of expression. They also said the supposed jerk only offered me his place to stay so there would be some reciprocation. Basically he did it so when in the states he could ask me to return the favor. There was this general assumption that everyone was out to get something except them. The reality was everyone I'd encountered were struggling artists of some sort who had found ways to manage in France. From the outside in they seemed like a mixed family. Most of them were from other places and just sort of clung to each other. I liked the camaraderie with everyone but hated that her friends particularly acted like everyone owed them something for it. There was also this strange underlying disclaimer about their relationship. Even my friend couldn't explain what they were. So the entire time we had to walk on eggshells about it. Meanwhile, I'm wondering about so much. Why did she tell me they wouldn't want me in their apartment? Why didn't she know if they were together or not? Why would this supposed jerk be hospitable to a complete stranger? Also what if my friend initiated contact with this guy and relayed it as if he was coming onto her? That is exactly what they implied - as if she contacted him - someone they barely trusted. 

Then she began to get even more cryptic messages from another member of the troupe. A series of hip-hop inspired blurbs and videos of French poetry. He was sort of the funny guy at the table and I never suspected they would actually be attracted to each other. I didn't even bother to ask when exactly did they exchange numbers. Slowly but surely that was the next best thing. She couldn't meet up because they were doing something. She couldn't talk that long because he was messaging her. We had to go this way because he was meeting her after whatever we did. It was annoying to say the least. In between being alone in my room, I was brought out to be left stranded for him or made to go meet her and her pretentious friends somewhere. At times, it felt much better to be alone so I wouldn't have to hear any excuses. I really tried to like her friends. I really tried to be positive about her date. After a while I just needed to purge my thoughts. I went to my blog and on the strength of the new Kanye West I went in. I just couldn't stand her. I felt like she had lied to me. I felt like she was abusing me. I felt like she was ignoring me. She never joined me at the hotel and most days she opted to go with her friends versus the one who came quite a long way. Despite what her friends said about the dancers we met them once more. By then the one was smitten with my friend and the rest of them had revealed their girlfriends to us. She kept asking had the one Black guy in the group implied that he was single. She seemed to be stretching for some gullible answer. Soon we went to a BBQ and all the girlfriends were in plain sight. Just like I expected these girls sat on the sofa the entire night while their men mingled. It just seemed like a French norm. I never even had an opportunity to feel any kind way about it. 

Looking back on everything there were so many ways to avoid the obvious problems. My friend should have been more honest about her intentions. If she didn't want company I wouldn't have even come. If her friends wanted to host the both of us it could have saved me a ton of money. If she wanted to date and go out I couldn't stop her but it didn't have to be thrown on at me at the 11th hour. Seriously, we couldn't even eat for her having some engagement. I would have never went on a trip with someone, met a random guy and just ditched my friend for days on end. What was so strange is that we had discussed it before the trip. I hadn't dated in some time and wasn't open to it. She was seeing some guy who wasn't what she wanted but it could have waited. In a matter of days she was staying at this guys flat. I'm not one to judge but it was just off especially hearing her friends opinions and being in a strange place. To each their own but I just couldn't have done anything remotely close to what she blatantly did. It seriously got to a point where I couldn't wait to move on. Between my isolation, the lack of summer weather and her 180 demeanor I just wanted to get the hell out of Nantes. Seriously, everything became a probleme. 

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