Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

15 November 2022


14 novembre, 2015.

This is a love story.

My entanglements, my worries, my fears. My swinging back and forth between Friuli Italy and Paris—une vie de pendulaire. Returning to Paris just in time to remember November 13: The day I got married. It rained, Romain went home to take a nap, I bought perfume.

I took my cousins to dinner at Le Depanneur, minutes away from where I now live. Back then, it was on the other side of the city. When it all came crashing down, we caught the last Uber back home, with a driver who panicked midway and tried to kick us out of the car. "Je me suis mariée aujourd'hui et il ne répond pas au telephone !" I shouted. My voice cracked. He was silent the rest of the way.

The days that followed. Romain’s early-morning grocery shopping. Trying to get up to run, sitting in the dark in the hallway for an eternity, playing with my laces. Something in me had slowed and become fearful. Cousin Dave messaging: “Time to come home, lol?” 

The recoil I felt.

How a guy who raped me was the only person I wanted to talk to, the only person who struck the right chord. It was the most peaceful and forgiving conversation we’d had, and our last.

I recently considered leaving Paris for good. Sustaining this life divided is tough. I feel like giving up. And every time I go back and forth, it’s not only me who has to adjust; it’s Demo, too. It stretches our elasticity, wears us thin even as it makes us burn for each other again.

But then I came home, back to my city, after midnight. Paris was wet and slick from recent rain. The pavements were shiny black and the air smelled clean. (Also: cigarettes, and in the metro, piss.) The winter lights string stars across the city, glimmering between buildings. I can’t see Orion here, I can’t see Gemini, I can’t see the moon. But I can see the cobblestones under my feet, and the red sky that first seduced me.

I poured out water and wine, let it bleed into the crevices of the concrete. Paris kissed me back.

She is my oldest and most enduring love. She took me as I am, made space for me; I started a company here, married and divorced and cried, made friends that became family because I had none here, and needed  that. As we get older, I see how important these ties are. How many secrets have been accumulated and honoured in the girl group, how many struggles divulged over whisky and cigar smoke in the guy group. We hold each other close, witness one another’s lives. We need each other in a way that is visceral.

What a strange thing, to have fallen in love with a man who loves me exactly as I am—Demo of the autumn eyes—and whose first declaration to me, witnessed by the mulberry trees of Tricesimo, was “I’m going to die on this land.” What a Hermean thing: A heart divided, inevitably, between loyalty to a land and loyalty to a man as bound to his earth as if it were part of his own body.

It’s beautiful and sad. It’s sublime: To experience love here, to experience love there, forever laced with an ache. Humans are slow data delivery devices; we are bound by space and time.

So I have to hold them both, carefully, at once. But to touch either of them, I swing: back and forth, back and forth, whatever the cost. Pendulaire. It's a good destiny. It's one whose cost hurts, but this is also how I know it matters.

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