Thursday, October 30, 2014

Till life do us part

I can't remember my father's funeral. How I felt, what I wore, who said what and why. I can't even say with certainty that I was actually there. What I do remember is Los Angeles in the aftermath, after what seemed like an earthquake and a raging hurricane. Birds kept singing, autumn winds carried the sapphire sea to shore as if nothing had changed, as if everything was fine.

I remember people smiling all around me as I walked up and down Sunset wearing black inside and out. They were happy, oblivious, discussing things that never mattered and never would because they had nothing to fear. That's what I read from their plastic faces and careless minds.

But I'm not alone. Everyone I know comes from a broken home, from families torn apart by death or greed or violence. I wasn't alone and as time passed I learned to live with the realization that knowing this didn't just numb the pain - it made me happy.
























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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Post-mortem

The last few days I've been drifting without any sense of direction, wandering alone leaving scarlet lipstick stains on wine glasses all around the Rive Gauche. Everywhere I hear seagulls and rhythmic waves on the autumn winds, knowing we're still miles away from the ocean.

"She was buried in Oscar de la Renta" he says, "such a fucking shame". He tells me he's going back to school on Monday, "but you can stay here as long as you want". I close my eyes and all I see is New York long after sunset, the lights from the Chrysler Building a glimmering constellation over Lexington Avenue. Me in my navy Prada coat, high heels and ivory leather gloves on my trembling way back home from the Rose Bar. The air smells distinctly of salt and anticipation.

Maybe it's this past summer echoing in the back of my mind, the things I should have said and done while there was still time. I call him from some bar in Saint-Germain to ask if he knows but he doesn't. Everywhere are sounds of people talking and laughing and even when I try I can't remember the last time I cried.











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Monday, October 20, 2014

To Père Lachaise and back

He wakes me up at 5 AM, his Bowmore breath thicker than a rain cloud. He tries to whisper but fails, the cold, dusty smell of his pinstripe suit tells me he's been smoking more heavily than usual. "It's time" he slurs as he climbs in to bed with his shoes on, lies down beside me and gently puts his ivory hand between my legs. The pressure from his fingers is always just enough, as if he's done it a million times before.

He picks out clothes for me (a raven dress, champagne ballerinas), then escorts me through the hotel lobby and in to the street to a waiting cab. It's warm and quiet outside, "go" he says and we drive through a city asleep, past the Bastille and in to the 20th arrondissement. I don't need to look out the window to know where we're going. I can already feel it.

We get out and start walking past rows of headstones and monuments. He squeezes my hand as if to comfort me but I've never been afraid of the dark or the dead. "I told you you'd get to meet my mother" he whispers, successfully this time, "and you should know I always keep my promises".











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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What you had and what you lost

He tells me about the dreams he's having and how with time he remembers them more and more as things that really happened.

We found a prettier hotel and moved our lives across the river a couple of hundred yards to the north He buys blue and violet cut flowers and rearranges the furniture according to his own messed up idea of feng shui. Paris is a fading fantasy outside, a neglected lover we got tired of sooner than we could ever imagine. "I was born here" he says, gazing distractedly out the window through the ivory drapes. "But it means nothing to me now".

We try out gin cocktails at the local bar and he makes me speak French with French girls in flimsy dresses and bird's nest hair. I know exactly how to make them want me more than him and I know that he loves me more because of it.










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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Live and let live

I wish I could tell one day from the next but the wine's far too cheap here. He's found a small three star hotel near the Luxembourg gardens, still on the Rive Gauche but reasonably far from his sister. "I don't want her to kill you" he says, I'm sure it's some form of a compliment.

We watch people pass us by in the early mornings on their way to work while we're still high on the fumes from last night's Champagne and oysters. We try (unsuccessfully) to act sober as we look for cracks and tears in the fresh paint, something to offset the expected and disrupt the pedantic patterns laid out before us: someone under 40 wearing clothes from Desigual (impossible), young Parisian men without sneakers (hard), pretty women with broken hearts (this is where we start guessing).

I ask him again when we'll see his mother. "I told you I shouldn't have put it that way" he says, annoyed, "but we will". He takes another sip from his highball glass of Absinthe, church bells echoing melancholically across the river as he speaks. "You will".










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