It’s sometimes hard for me to distinguish between memory and fantasy. Between a linear reality and a self-preservation tactic. I find memories like pennies on the ground. Tails-up, unlucky, not worth much until you have a pile of them. I leave it alone. I leave it there for somebody else. It might grow a patina and smell like a bloody lip, but I leave it alone all the same.

This trip was different. I remember every detail of Paris. How many cups of espresso we drank one morning and how many magazines we flipped through at night. I remember the roads there better than in my own hometown. It was magnified, every sense heightened to take it all in. We walked a lot, got blisters, fell asleep at three in the afternoon. We ate eggs every morning and stuttered our way through the menu, nodding in agreement with the waiter when words fumbled. The discounted shoes, knock-offs in the flea market alleys. The bright blue sky and the long shadows the buildings casted at sunset. How quiet it all was an hour before midnight, sometimes our cravings for the best of us and we went out for ice cream. It was all real, all lying before us in a vast cityscape of garbled conjugations and silent consonants. We only explored those things we knew from the internet, the whole rest of the world was in hiding, secrets we discovered together.

I will go back to Paris; I have to now. I want to celebrate another birthday sitting on a picnic blanket by the Eiffel Tower. There are still over 20 restaurants I want to try. I want to buy antiques and reclaim them as heirlooms. I want to spend a day reading, a day sleeping, and a day walking. But there’s never enough time and I am back to work now. Butfive days in Paris were perfect. I am sure these memories won’t escape me so soon.

Fig+Bleu's Guide to Paris!


We stayed in the Marais, which was such a relaxed neighborhood. This was our AirBnB.


  • Have a picnic near the Eiffel Tower
  • Spend 4 hours in the Louvre
  • Faceswap with Picassos
  • Buy Kinder bars at one in the morning at the local shop
  • Buy some antiques at the flea market
  • Spend $200 on linens at Merci's shop
  • And $60 on kitchen wares at E. Dehillerin

When my Parents Visit

We played poker that week, we'd draw the cards and shuffle them around.  All the lives I used to live were buried in the compliments my parents gave me.  To show the growth I've gone through to get to the house I live in now, with all its struggle and timid mid-century beauty.  There was a distinction in how they talked to me, sometimes a whisper, sometimes cautiously.  We talked until our voices were hoarse, all about how much I've changed, grown, become something.

We played poker and it kept my attention all week long, the dexterity of conversation.  How we wouldn't dwell on any one subject for too long.  How anything anymore is too painful to bring up, too trivial.  It's easier to ask if the weather is always this nice and not ask if I'm happy that I moved back to San Diego.  Time was short and days ran long.  I've said it before, but time is just a trickster god.  A coyote yelping in the distance, telling me I wouldn't see them again for another six months. 

There's a thing in poker called a "tell".  When a player can't mask his intent.  When his subconscious twitches at the fingertips.  When a player touches his nose, rubs his ear, clears his throat in the silence.  I wonder what my tell was that week.  I keep turning this over in the silence before I fall asleep:  What was the hint I gave them all?  What did my body say that my tongue could not?  How well do my parents this person I've become to be able to pan through the fools gold of conversation for what they really were.  How to navigate the minutiae to find the nuance of my biting lip.

The truth was that it's been six days since my parents left and it's been hard to stay positive, to keep my mind off how much I miss them.  I think it read on my face, the truth is the tell was present in every movement, in every frown, in every smile I gave that stretch across my face whenever I caught my mom looking at me.

My parents left six days ago, but I cherished it all.  Every moment, every heartbeat, every eyelash my mother would pick off my cheek and blow into the wind.  I'm more like my mother than I ever thought possible, in our temper and our careful approach to love.  I think about how much I've hated her before and I can't seem to find the reason for all of that anger.  My father sat at the tail end of conversation.  He's a good man, silent and awkward.  My parents left six days ago and that happiness couldn't have lasted forever. 

Our life out here is so different than my parents, I had to preface everything i showed them. "We don't normally go here." "We don't normally spend this much." "We usually just sit at home."  I couldn't lose that connection, to remain down in the salt of the earth with them.  I'd be buried in it, if I could.  Preserved, cured.  Perhaps in more ways than one.

We got seasick on a boat ride around the bay I arranged for Father's Day, they ate In 'n Out for the first time.  We drank milkshakes and kept our eyes on the horizon.  We ate at a Chinese restaurant where our waitress spoke Spanish with no accent and English with a heavy one.  We sat on the edge of the world and watched the water crash on an outcrop of houses in La Jolla.  We ate leftovers in our swim suits.  My mother made coffee too weak; she got frustrated that the coffee pot wasn't like hers.  My parents napped with our dog, Elsa, and then my dad slept for 12 more hours.  We got tattoos to commemorate my continual, chronic years of not appreciating my mother's love.  We hugged at the airport and my mother whispered in my ear at the terminal, "I don't know how much longer I can do this."

We drove home in silence.  Her words still are ringing in my ear.

My parents bought a house in North Carolina, surrounded by forests in a town that only has a pizza place and a Dollar General.  My parents called it a homestead.  It'll be willed to me and my siblings.  My mother is decorating it in greens and blues, colors of the ocean.  My mother is going to get another rescue dog.  She's decided on a lab.  A boy.  My dad wants to quit his job in ten years' time.  They have plans, lives I only intersect at the periphery.  They miss me in their own way, and I, myself, don't know how much longer I can do this.

A Greyhound Through Hill Country


It was hard to find a comfortable position.  I'm long-limbed and can never stay still for long.  I wrapped my body around an old leather jacket and road the north-bound Greyhound bus to Dallas last week.  It gave me a reason to see Nolan, the first time in three weeks.  Three weeks that quantified into a lifetime of changing perspectives and the resultant, nagging question of why did i do this?

The bus left at seven and pulled in by midnight.  We sat in traffic for 45 minutes, and I read articles about the I Ching and cancer.  My eyes grew dryer with every mile marker and I had a pair of glasses tucked into the backseat pocket.  It was longer than I thought five hours could be, and the only way I could gauge that kind of time was San Diego to Phoenix, from San Diego to Las Vegas, from San Diego to the first gas station we stopped at the buy water and a burger on our way to El Paso for the night.  All my starting points were from that Southern California town.  And many of my ending points, too.

By the end of my time in California, I was no longer many things.  I was no longer alone, no longer exciting, no longer young and naive and studious.  No longer a law student, no longer confident, no longer the faltering idea of being someone else.  I was myself and I have sacrificed for that kind of beginning, but I had to go to Dallas and see if it was all worth it.  To look the wolf in the eyes at night and see if it howls the same as you howled inside.  When it wasn't so perfect, when it was a shaggy puddle of old love notes that got ripped to shreds in an old cardboard box.

We met at the station and a male prostitute asked where I was going.  It was pitch-dark and silent in the city, and in the distance you saw how expansive Dallas was.  We passed office buildings that still had lights on and it seemed we found ourselves in another city, another few moments of exploration.  We got a hotel for the night, a little room with a queen-sized bed and a TV that was screwed into the dresser.  The fridge motor ran louder than my breathing and my body, naturally nestled into Nolan's, fell into the rhythm of his breathing.

And for two days, I felt whole.  In a way I hadn't before.  Longer than the three-week span of living on my own.  Longer than maybe a year or two.  It was no longer a question of "How will we survive?", but a question of when will the vast gap between us close itself?  Inside you can fill barbecue joints, the Grand Canyon, and the biggest little city in the world.   There is a five year age gap and the gaps in our teeth and a gap between my thighs because I'm only eating for one.  There are memories I think I forgot and a tenderness in our words and fingertips that came out of the synapses of our mind, our fight or flight response, our relationship survivalism.

And we couldn't even kiss goodbye because we're in an unfamiliar town.  We hesitated, standing at terminal five of the Dallas greyhound, my bag on my shoulder and a headphone in one year.  I looked him in the eye and said, "I'll see you soon."

Places to visit in Dallas....Social House / Weekend Coffee / TENOVERSIX / White Elephant