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This stranger, who was no longer too much of a stranger anymore, in her perfect plain black T-shirt, was talking about the representations of women in sci-fi blockbusters and smiling across our table at me. We dated with relative regularity over the next couple months.
Ruby’s kayak profile picture seemed to reveal itself as a side-effect of extreme shyness.
An hour later we kissed goodbye hastily on the metro when I got off for my transfer.
Texts were exchanged about a second date, but it never ended up happening.
I sipped my wine and listened to this perfectly nice, extremely boring person tell me about going to university for human resources in lilting English.
She lived in the southern suburbs with her parents, drove to school every day, and stayed out all night nearly every night. I walked as much of the way as I could, past the crowded bars overflowing with people and light. Lina moved from Morocco to Paris to study marketing, and was more than a foot shorter than me.
We talked about public policy differences between our two countries, and some of the books we loved.
Now, in the heady flux of postgrad, in a city where I didn’t speak the language and knew next to no one, I’d thought, fuck it.
I spent a Sunday drinking two-euro supermarket wine in my broom closet of a studio apartment, filling out online questionnaires.
My first date after moving to Paris was at a cemetery.
I had been messaging a girl on Ok Cupid from New Zealand who was looking for people with whom to knock must-visits off her Parisian bucket list; her name was Ruby, and she suggested we meet up at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.
But the most important thing to remember is that the French citizen values family time as a number one priority.