Scene I / Courbevoie, Exterior: Saturday afternoon.
I'm walking away to the train station. My heart's a mess. I can't put two thoughts together without creating an explosion. I couldn't stay another minute at Isaac's. The shadow of his boyfriend is everywhere. At least, William had the decency to take us away from his partner. No Isaac. I have tried to take it lightly, but the pretence is not worth the effort. It's sunny outside. Beautiful, crisp but chilly weather, my favourite. I don't need to wear that Indian silk scarf anymore. I'm checking messages on my smart-phone. Isaac's messages. He's sorry. He didn't mean to lie. He did lie actually. He just didn't tell everything. He begs me to come back. I'm at the train station now. It's only two minutes before the next train to Paris appears. I send a message to Jan, asking him whether he's got time to meet up before we go to Nina's house party. I cruelly need the company of a true friend.
Scene II / Paris, Dennis' flat.
I'm coming back from a lovely dinner at Thomas'. It's always a great pleasure to see him. His flat is crammed with Cd's and books, mostly about music. Of course, he works in that second hand CD shop which has become a must-go, each time I come to Paris.
The door to Dennis' room is closed already, even if it is only past midnight. Surprising, since he usually likes to relax in the living room, watching a film or sipping some herbal tea. We usually enjoy that time to chat and have casual conversations.
I see Isaac's shoes on the floor and his sports bag on the table. Dennis' voice is heard from behind the door. But no one comes out of the room. "Maybe they're having a private time" I think. I go to the bathroom to shower. When I come back, I find a message from Dennis on my phone: "For your information, it was Isaac who insisted in keeping me company for the night. Only to sleep." I take a deep breath and do my bed.
"Why are you telling me that? It's none of my business" I write back. Of course it is. But what can I say?
I can hardly sleep a wink. I read a few more chapters of Edmund White's A married man.
Scene III / Saint-Maur, my parents' place.
I have just put my nephew Vu An to sleep. Mathilde thought it a good idea to have him stay the night at my parents' house for a change. It was a good idea. We can enjoy the little boy for a longer time and play with him. I made sure that he sleeps at the right time, so he won't be cranky the next day. He only woke up once to ask for his mother. I told him she was sleeping. He asked to go downstairs. I told him everybody was asleep. "No go down...?" Two years and three months and now he can speak quite well already. I try to only talk to him in Vietnamese, but I'm the only one. Even my parents don't realise they start a sentence in Vietnamese and end it in French... Vu An stays in my arms for a little while and asks for his favourite lullaby, Henri Salvador's Une chanson douce. I feel he's ready to sleep again and lie him down on his bed. He hardly moves and soon I can hear his deep breathing. It's 5:45 AM. Only after that can I find some sleep. Holding my nephew was like a lullaby.
I'm thinking about Isaac. Have I been too harsh to him? But after my story with William, I didn't want to get caught in another love triangle anymore. In this present case, it's more than just a love triangle: Dennis was jealous of us. Past history between them. Past history not totally buried...
Nevertheless, I sent Isaac a little message, casually asking how he was. No reply. Of course, I had told him a week before that I didn't wish to be the other man again and that the best option was to call it off.
Scene IV / Paris, Dennis' flat.
Morning. Isaac has left earlier for his dance rehearsal. I spend the night in total isolation, even if Isaac was sleeping beside me. Images of William kept coming back to me. I felt an intense sadness. No. I couldn't possibly repeat the pattern. I drifted away.
Dennis hasn't said much this morning. He's put on his 'everything is okay' face. But I know he is not fine. When we went to the cinema to see Woody Allen's last opus, Blue Jasmine - Cate Blanchett, magnificent... and I could sense that Dennis was very displeased by the sight of me and Isaac being so happy together.
"Everything's alright, Dennis?" I asked. It didn't take long before he told me that he didn't wish me to spend another night with Isaac at his place. Past history not totally buried.... I could understand, although I found that jealousy a tad unfair. Dennis likes to seduce every good looking bloke coming his way, and he never thinks twice about how other people may feel. Beside, I was the guest. Keep privacy private. How I wish I had my own space...
"Don't worry, Dennis, I have decided to stop seeing Isaac."
That startled him. He replied that he hopes I didn't made that decision because of him. I explained that I had enough of love triangle, and with him being jealous on top of that, it was best if I walked away from it.
"I just wish you could be a little happy that your close friend finds some solace in someone's arms." I thought. I guess the sight of finding Isaac and I in bed when he came back from work was a shock to him, although he knew very well what was going, and was even the one to push Isaac to go to me on that first night...
Scene V / Taipei, my flat.
My birthday. I have been staying home and working on my music all day. But I received tons of messages on Facebook. Among them, one by Dennis' friends, Isaac sending me his wishes "... Found this to wish you a happy birthday, An. But I can personally do it for you if I'm attractive enough for you!!!! (laugh) Seriously!!!..."
He shyly attempted to ask me out during my last visit, but I was too busy to make time for someone I had barely met twice.
Scene VI / Paris, Jardin des Tuileries
It's a cool and sunny afternoon. I took Isaac to the garden so to enjoy a bit of sunshine and breathe some fresh air. It's our first time meeting up to spend time together, and the mood is relaxed and peaceful. I enjoy his company. We talk about his possible future within the Pina Bausch company. As he was taking care of his friend Raymond after that terrible boat accident in Malaysia that left Raymond seriously injured, he also would take morning class with the company - Raymond was a young dancer in the school and about to start working for the main company. The director apparently spotted him and connected him with the choreographer. the irony of fate... Isaac is very hopeful about it. I wish this will be the right direction for him. He has spent too long dancing in those silly cabaret shows.
The weather was getting slightly too cold, we were feeling sleepy so I've decided to come back to Dennis' place and enjoy a more intimate time.
I was glad, I had just changed my ticket the same morning to stay two weeks longer. Thanks to Dennis and François.
Isaac and I made love. Slow and sensuous. His body had this magnetism that I could only yield to.
We had just reached the climax two minutes ago that the door opened. Dennis was back from work.
Scene VII / Paris, Dennis' flat
I had just gone to bed. Dennis and I had dinner together with Isaac who just came back from Essen, where he had been taking care of Raymond for a full month after the tragic accident. Isaac told us in full detail - too graphic details, what happened that day. He and his friend Raymond were rowing from one island to another, with Isaac's boyfriend Brice following closely behind. A speedboat appeared coming in their direction. The driver wasn't looking ahead, but behind, probably speaking to someone and didn't see the rowboats. Isaac and Raymond shouted and yelled at him to stop but he didn't hear anything. A few seconds later, the boat was in pieces, Raymond badly injured, the water becoming red with his blood. The members of the speedboat realised what just happened and helped them to reach the nearest island.
Raymond had most of his ass muscle nearly torn away from his body. As a dancer, that would mean the end of everything....
Isaac is still in shock of what happened. He cannot go out and only concentrates on his dance rehearsals. We were lying in bed, Dennis he and I. Giving each other a hug. Dennis loves it to have boys in his bed, even if it doesn't lead to sex. I was holding Isaac's hand and stroking it gently. After a while, Dennis was snoring, so I left the room and returned to the living room where I would usually sleep.
A few minutes later, the sliding panels opened and Isaac was there. I wasn't surprised - I hoped for it, but I wasn't sure it was a good idea...
"It's Dennis who pushed me to join you" Isaac said. "He says it is okay".
Praying that he really meant it, I enjoyed every minute of that night. For someone who needs his space in bed, even next to a lover, I found no problem embracing him during my sleep. It's rare which doubled the pleasure. I felt like a young lover again.
Scene VIII / Paris, Dennis flat
I'm packing. I just can't stay here anymore. I told Dennis and Isaac that I wished to be out of their mess. I wonder what went through Dennis' mind... Two weeks ago, out of jealousy - feeling 'left out', was his euphemism, expressed his displeasure at seeing me enjoying Isaac's company. Yesterday, Isaac was spending the night in his bed. Even though nothing happened.
I couldn't help but feeling wounded and betrayed. The story was worse than in any TV drama. Of course, Dennis denied and minimised it, said that I was overreacting. Isaac claimed innocence. What can one do when the persons involved do not want to take responsibility?
Scene VIII / Paris, Nina's flat, Saturday evening
The guests have all arrived. Jan and I are talking in Nina's bedroom. I don't have the strength nor the will to socialise. We talk about music, about the state of pop music nowadays. Jan wants a change in his songwriting. Enough of being a clown and playing. He is going to show his true self.
Scene IX / Paris, somewhere, outside.
It's raining. A friend has sent me a little line: "Sometime peace is better than being right"