One night in early November, a few friends and I attempted to see an expo at the Musée d’Orsay. Finding it closed, we switched routes and wondered over to La Palette, a Saint-Germain brasserie populated with a mix of local boujis and international Eurotrash. In the corner of the outdoor patio sat a familiar-looking man with a strong resemblance to Ethan Hawke. Ethan and I crossed eyes and I saw a glimmer of recognition on his face, realizing exactly where I knew him from.
When I was about nineteen, the D-Expert and I used to sneak into Bungalow 8, where Ethan was a bartender. He would occasionally slip us free shots, after which we would flirt with Vincent Gallo and shake our butts alongside Lindsay and Dina. Over the years, Ethan moved up in the club industry, becoming a prominent doorman of a popular Meatpacking District club. I remember preparing my ‘Ethan walk’ from about a block away, strutting my stuff in my Louboutins to guarantee a seamless entry for me and my posse. Ethan, to his credit, never disappointed, letting us in even on the most “out of capacity” nights.
As the years went by, Ethan moved on to more prosperous endeavors, and I occasionally saw him at a restaurant that he had opened in Downtown NYC. However, never did I expect to run into him in Paris, especially not on that random November evening.
As we caught up over drinks and dinner, he explained that he had recently gotten involved in a new business venture, which had brought him Europe. A longtime Francophile, he had decided to temporarily settle in Paris, eager to saturate the culture and even learn some French.
It felt great to talk to a fellow New Yorker. As we reminisced about our tumultuous youth, I felt myself growing excited at the prospect of something new, something light, something spontaneous yet comfortingly familiar. Ethan seemed happy about our chance encounter as well, making plans for all the activities we would do together. When I mentioned that the lack of gyms in Paris had turned me into an avid runner, he suggested that we go running together that following week.
Two days later, he texted me, and we went on our first run. We ran from Saint-Germain to Place de la Concorde, then down to the Louvre and to Palais Royal, seeing the most beautiful of Parisian destinations in the calm of the night. As we ran by the Comédie-Francaise, Ethan asked me if I would like to go to a play with him one of these days. He also wanted to go to the Opera, and see a number film, all of which ‘we’ would do together.
Despite of all the ‘we’s, all Ethan ever actually proposed to me was to go running. A normal person would have put their foot down (nice pun, btw), but I kind of liked the challenge. (Plus, my thighs were feeling better than ever.) And so, I kept running. It was getting cold in Paris, so I even went to American Apparel and paid 60 euros for a gray fleece sweatshirt, just so that I could run with him without freezing to death.
On our fourth consecutive running date, Ethan appeared anxious and distracted, preoccupied by some dinner plans and business call that he had to conduct that evening. As we ran by the banks of the Seine, right next to the Notre Dame cathedral, his phone rang. For fifteen minutes, he argued in a foreign language while I patiently waited, playing an invisible game of hopscotch an effort to stay warm. Suddenly he got off the phone and declared that he needed to go, giving me a quick half-hug before running up the stairs and disappearing into the night. And so, I was left alone under the Pont Neuf in my fancy sweatshirt, frozen and confused.
Needless to say, I never heard from Ethan again. It wasn’t pleasant, but I didn’t have much reason to be offended – after all, I hadn’t said or done anything wrong. A male friend suspected that Ethan had vanished simply because he had lacked the energy, or the balls, to pursue anything. As a former bouncer, he was used to accepting sex as a ‘thank you’ for lifting the velvet rope. Faced with a slightly more complex situation, he had bailed.
In any case, dear Ethan, it was lovely running with you. I assume our paths will cross again, but in the meantime, I will always think of you while looking at my 60 euro fleece hoodie.