This is my second Thanksgiving spent in Paris. And with this cyclic repetition, I feel as if my life here is gaining some sort of primacy as opposed to a feeling of seasonal aberration. Last year, I had a very late Thanksgiving dinner in a 24-hour Parisian bar with my two favorite Buddhist lesbians who were visiting me from Chicago. This year’s celebrations involved drinking cranberry-flavored liquor before an evening of French comedic theater and Chinese food with my Italian lover.
Such moments of joy fill the hollows that are carved out by the suspicion (the fear?) that your life is elsewhere. Because in moments of so many family reunions, the panic that geography – that tricky shapeshifter – has foiled you once again, can be overpowering.
These moments (the ones in which you realize that the people you love are there while you are here) can make you remember, with a thud, that geography is not a metaphor. And while this lack of abstraction can be existentially troubling, the palpability of this displacement can be liberating. I have been dislocated from my own center of the world, and that world has been shifted from my center. But for this possibility of imagining different stories for myself, I am grateful.