Saturday, August 31, 2013


I wake up with her skin against mine, her mouth microscopically open, a rhythmic string of murmurous little breaths falling off the edge of her nude lips. The dark has faded but the silence and the calm reminds me of a cemetery, only the slow movements of her chest under the silk distinguishes her from the image of a porcelain doll.

She opens her eyes, her hair a meteor shower across the pillow. We're in mother's bed, she asks me, like Henry did, about the framed picture on the night stand table. My grandfather in black & white in the snowfall, the way he looks into the camera, through the decades and the distance. 

We mix our coffee with brandy to dampen the headache and the disparate fragments of memories from last night. September is just hours and a thunderstorm away and the winds here are starting to feel different.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Start spreading the news

The rumors are true, Stephanie is back in town.

She meets me in the park, her skin glows like porcelain under the layers of transparent silk. The inherent contradiction of her thinly veiled Catholic innocence always allures me, it suppresses the resentment against a nation going to war while self-righteously moralizing over whatever Miley Cyrus did.

We seldom talk about anything that matters, I want her to keep her secrets to herself and the distance. No one intrigues me like her, she's a subtle magic trick and the hand inside my blouse after midnight. I always forget how much I miss her when she's not around.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tangle of thorns

The masked Frenchman with the theatrical accent scribbled down an address on a napkin, by the morning the lipstick letters were smudged beyond recognition and all that remained legible was a number, "53".

Every man that's ever been in love with me has bought me unusable underwear in red lace or shimmering black silk. Sometimes they're expensive (Elle MacPherson) and sometimes they're not, I'm pretty sure the H&M bra I got for a birthday was really just a clever way of saying we should start seeing other people.

The only one that ever understood me was Carl. He picked out something egg shell white in the thinnest cotton because he said it reminded him of Nabokov. If my life was a literary reference I would always want it to be Dolores on a dotted line.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eyes Wide Asleep

So, the story behind the content of my bag, as I remember it now:

Someone I know vaguely from years back called and wanted to see me on a Saturday night. "Bring your mask" he said (it's only later that I came to wonder how he knew I had one). He picked me up late, we drove for an hour in the dark, away from Manhattan, to a white wooden house drowning in artificial light and monotone music.

The entire setting appeared surreal with thin girls wearing venetian masks and black dresses, a few men in strict suits and iced champagne bottles in crystal buckets (think Eyes Wide Shut, only smaller). Someone started talking to me, through his vivid French accent and the alcohol he slipped a key down my purse and told me to come see him in Paris. "Wear this" he slurred, hence the panties. 

When I came to Nice and Henry I imagined it was him behind that mask and the accent, I thought I smelled his perfume for a second but it couldn't have been. It couldn't.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Qui sait combien de temps cela va durer

I'm tired, and not just from the overpriced long drinks at the airports and the sleepless hours across the darkness of the ocean. Not just from the tepid jet lag but from the phantom pains of Henry's absence, obstinately aching through every part of my body.

And then New York, it always seems like a fairytale filtered through a taxi window, the neon signs and the traces of rain on the sidewalks like splinters in my mind. The apartment smells of solitude and vapid champagne, mother must have been here recently, leaving the blinds opened and the balcony door inattentively unlocked.

I'm in her sofa with her Cartier de Lune watching afternoon shadows crawl silently across the floor, waiting for the sound of her keys in the lock. I imagine her like before, striking a pose in the doorway, a subtle smile on her Guerlain lips and her heels like rhythmic hail against the polished black marble. She used to be so happy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nice - Day 7

Being here sometimes feels like coming home, back to Los Angeles, as it was before the fires and the will to escape started to transform the images before me. The ocean changes color through the day from celeste to blue to deepest black and Henry never knew me in California.

We pretend like these aren't our last hours together, he does it better than I. We walk in and out of a hundred little vintage shops full of dusty clothes and forgotten memories, he leads the way as if he's looking for something but doesn't let me know. He grows impatient, digs dejectedly through the rubble and mumbles incoherently.

I wish he would find what ever it is he's looking for but I can't help him and he will go back to Paris alone. There will be days when I'll regret it and nights when the solitude will keep me awake and maybe eventually he will understand.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Nice - Day 5

When the morning awakes me I'm alone on his air-conditioned side of the bed, the Love Moschino T-shirt I fell asleep in lies perfectly folded next to me. Without him the room is a deserted city, outside is the sound of a rain waiting to begin. I step into yesterday's dress and wander aimlessly around the hotel like a ghost from the belle epoque (no, that's a good thing).

What he said and how he said it, a reflexion of the last hour we spent together in New York: him holding the door and leaning into me as I passed, his voice a birdlike whisper in my ear and the traffic: I love you so much. I tried to answer him but the words escaped me, nothing would ever have been enough.

He comes back after 10, the lobby is full of people and the concierge has brought me coffee (I added the bourbon myself). He smiles when he sees me barefoot in my charcoal dress and chaotic morning hair, I keep from asking where he was because when he holds me it truly feels as if it doesn't matter.


Nice - Day 6

Something in the afternoon air smells of autumn, Henry smells like a snowfall when I wake up with my nose on his collarbone. I want to tell him that I've kept his daffodils but I've already lied to him once (he asked if I had ever had sex with someone French. Who does he think I am?).

He talks about Paris, about the apartment and the gardens. He talks about his sister and chain smokes his Camels over breakfast somewhere on Cours Saleya. Scattered across the paving are traces from yesterday's market, he picks up a marguerite and starts picking the discolored petals. She loves me, she loves me not.

Come with me he says, in passing, not looking at me but somewhere in the hazy distant, through the buildings out towards the ocean. It sounds like a whisper but breaks my heart like a wrecking ball, violently and mercilessly. It's not a question, he doesn't wait for an answer, just lets the cigarette dissolve into ashes along with the marguerite petals on the ground below us.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nice - Day 4

In the mornings I see him as if through a smudged window, his hair a sun-bleached bird's nest and his nomad hands buried somewhere deep under the pillow (they change positions a thousand times in one night). We take the train away from the melting asphalt and the restlessness, all along the coastline are shimmering beaches and the mountains, flickering by like images from a dream.

We see people living their lives in bathing suits, in the sand, tanned young couples and families with little children running aimlessly close to the water's edge.

He looks at them in silence, leaning still against the warm glass. When his voice breaks the silence it's without warning and it wakes me from something that feels like sleep. "I don't want what they have" he says, "I just wish that if I did it would make me happy". He turns to look at me, the temperature drops a hundred degrees and I've never wanted him closer.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Nice - Day 3

I do remember being here but the pictures are torn and out of focus. Chloe and I spent a careless summer gambling on my mother's credit card until the bank called her and she cut us off. The first weeks we were constantly drunk on cheap red wine, I slept in a porcelain bathtub in an empty three bedroom apartment in Monaco-Ville.

Towards the end of August we relocated to Nice's old town and spent late nights together on the beaches, in the dark and the fumes from the alcohol and our cigarettes. People would come down from the bars after midnight, mostly older men that wanted to sleep with us. I remember a Moroccan writer (or so he said) carefully examining me in the moonlight and saying to me "you look like an opium kind of girl". That's where it started.

In another life: Venice Beach and the crashing of the waves, the silence that follows and the winds underneath our summer dresses. The voids in our hearts, the constant restlessness and the will to escape. When Henry holds my hand on the Promenade des Anglais it should be different but it's not and it swarms around us like insects.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nice - Day 2

His French actually sounds like French, he uses it demonstratively when we're around Americans and I answer him in Italian to annoy him. Judging by the way he silently kills me from under his vintage sunglasses it works.

The streets here are narrow and the atmosphere dense, I wear semi-transparent cream white dresses over shell pink cotton underwear from Cavalli. I feel freer when I do, as if nothing matters outside the flows of cool air that sometimes cut through the tender fabrics like butcher's knives. Henry acts unimpressed but fails to convince me, he lives for the way strange men with H&M girlfriends turn their heads to look at me.

At night in bed he's asleep holding me, his hand on my hip bone, I turn towards him and it comes to rest like a butterfly softly between my legs. He doesn't wake up and I don't make him.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nice - Day 1

I've been at the airport before but nothing about it brings back memories. Maybe it was the airline alcohol. Henry tells me to look for the 98 bus just outside the terminal, I'm guessing it's his childish idea of a joke.

The cab I hail smells of oriental spices and sweat, the driver holds a brusque twenty minute monologue about the Egyptian situation but my mind is elsewhere. A polluted sunset embeds the mountains outside, the Mediterranean washes over me like a feverish mirage along the Promenade des Anglais.

A wavelength later I'm in the hotel lobby waiting for him, furtively taking pictures of misplaced tourists with their Zara shopping bags. The staff refers to him as Monsieur, I know how much he loves that. When he comes down he's dressed in ebony black from Dior and a fittingly subtle tan. He kisses me on the cheek and calls me Madame as if we were married.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Who wants to live forever

The scent from his body is still infused in my pillows and it drives me away from the city, in my mind I'm already hours across the ocean. "How could I resist a perfume called Égoïste" he said but it's fading now, I have to breathe in deeper every night just to feel it.

I don't know why I'm going, maybe because he told me he loved me or because I'm starting to forget the feeling of waking up in the dark with him, of the warmth of his skin and his teasing hand between my legs.

I'd like to say that it doesn't matter but it does, I've needed the intoxications for as long as I can remember. Without them I'm lost, it's an addiction I can't live without and sometimes I think I wouldn't want to if I could. In 24 hours I'll see him and hold him close to my body and only then will I know exactly what it feels like.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Together apart

It's slowly getting darker, I had tried for days to forget about him when he called me last night, Henry. I asked him what the time was in Paris but I already knew (2.35 AM). His breathing was unusually calm through the wires and he spoke as if he was trying to remember the words before he said them.

I mostly listened, watching the sun as it set from a chair in the kitchen. "I'm in Nice next week, you should come see me" he said. "I'll be at the Negresco". It made sense somehow, I slept until the morning and dreamt about an ocean.

The apartment is still empty of sounds and movements, sometimes in the dark I try not to breathe and it almost feels like being alive.