06 March 2010

The Great Escape

While in Lourdes, I had managed to reserve myself a studio apartment by phone in the Metz centre-ville.

Now came the messy part: Extracting myself from the current apartment with as little confrontation as possible.  The idea of staying even one more night there was humiliating and intolerable to me.  The thought of a mere face-to-face conversation with her, her boyfriend, or her son caused my heart rate to quicken.  The last thing I wanted was to cry in front of her.  I would leave the same day as my arrival in Metz.  There was no other way.

After a sleepless overnight train from Lourdes to Paris, my anxiety began to mount on the brief ride from Paris to Metz. In my mind, I tried to retreat to the tranquility of Lourdes, but by the time the train arrived in Metz, I was sweating profusely.  I headed directly from the train station to the new apartment, where I dumped the contents of my suitcase, and of course paid my first bill for my studio.  Because I had to pay the first month's rent right away, plus the 200 Euro deposit, my paycheck for March was completely obliterated at the reception desk. Fighting back tears, I handed over my credit card, recalling my financial woes of only a few weeks ago.  Now that my rent is three times higher, what the hell was I going to do? 

After settling up at the reception desk, I caught a bus to the apartment I had called home since October.  

With a thudding heart, I climbed the stairs, and sighed with relief to find no one at home.  As quickly as possible, I carelessly hurled my belongings into my suitcases, racing up and down the three flights of stairs, stacking everything on the street level.  I hadn't realized how much I had accumulated in my time in France... books, shelving, art supplies, clothing, shoes... and of course my food in the pantry.  My hasty packing meant that I could fit less into my suitcases than normal.  I had to resort to filling garbage bags.  Seven or Eight trips later, I had evacuated my belongings.  I called a cab, requesting a large car to accommodate my things.  The entire time, my anxiety was affecting my breathing, I was positively petrified that she would return before I had finished.

I raced back upstairs one last time.  I scribbled out a note thanking her and her son for their kindness in taking me in, telling them that I would miss them, and that they could call me anytime.  I signed it with all my love... and then as an afterthought, left a tiny bottle of Lourdes water next to the note, along with my keys to the apartment.

It was the hardest thing I've ever done, taking the high road rather than expressing my hurt, my rage.  I could have sought revenge in a number of ways, quite easily, but even fantasizing about it made me feel queasy.  The spirit of Lourdes was inside of me, and to do anything less than honorable would have made my pilgrimage a lie. 

I kissed the cat goodbye, and left the apartment for the last time.

When I arrived downstairs, the cab driver had arrived in a station wagon.  He stared mournfully at the piles of things lined up on the sidewalk, and I apologized profusely and helped as much as I could. As we drove away, I sighed with relief, realizing I had gotten the worst over with, and had successfully avoided an encounter with her. Within minutes, we had unloaded my things in front of my new apartment building, and I was standing at the base of the stairwell, defeated, wondering how on earth I would survive the agonizing process of getting everything up three flights of stairs.  I couldn't lose momentum, I told myself, and trudged on, gasping and cursing up every step.  

I glanced at my watch.  I had arrived in Metz at 12:30pm.  It was now 3pm.  Impressive.  The confrontation I had feared was simply not to be.  I looked around my place.  I realized that this was my first apartment of my own.  No roommates.  No parents paying the bill.  It was small, but not without a certain charm.  There were two windows that filled the room with light.  A large table, which would be ideal for painting.  Lots of shelving and closet space... a desk, a bed... it was mine.  My own French apartment.  

I collapsed on the bed, overwhelmed by sleep deprivation and ragged emotions.  I thought I could finally breath a sigh of relief, but for some reason, all I could do was cry.  


  1. All these trials will definitely make you stronger!! You can use this as a basis of comparison the next time something jumps the tracks and realize that you are indeed up to the challenge.



  2. God, I cannot wait to see everything that you have pictures of in person. It'll sure beat the heck out of being over hear away from you.




Related Posts with Thumbnails