Saturday, August 30, 2014

This is the end

I take my morning coffee with an extra shot of Bourbon, browsing through the pictures he sends me from Berlin: Potsdamer Platz after dark, a granite wall in the Tiergarten, the roof inside the Galeries Lafayette. Always architectural and sterile, void of people or movement.

When I leave the house I dress in florals and shades of white, his absence is echoing along the fragile coastline where I walk. I pass by people that nod as if they knew me, men with wives and girlfriends stare frightenedly through the transparency of my dress as if in to an eclipse. It's almost too easy.

Back home I close the blinds and shut the door behind me, our bed is cooler than normal and under the covers my fingers are finding their way to wherever he likes to touch me. I close my eyes and it's darker than a dream, nothing breaks the silence but the subtle sensation of skin against fabric and ripples of thundering water in the far away distance. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Take my breath away

After a stormy weekend he left like he said he would, with Tom and an empty suitcase. I share a cigarette with Daisy down by the water, then another one and a bottle of wine and it tastes just like sawdust. "Why are you with him" I ask, her cheekbones glimmering in the pallid moonlight. She shrugs, a crooked smile on her Beaujolais lips and salt in her hair like diamonds.

"And you" she asks, "why are you with Henry?"
"To forget about someone else."
"Is it working?"

A night and a day earlier he's standing over me by the bedside, bowed down and breathing carefully to keep from waking me but I haven't slept for hours. His hand hovers just over my hair, he hesitates for three seconds before stepping back and in one seamless movement he walks out and closes the door behind him. I shiver in the 6 AM cold, outside the sound of an engine and tires on gravel, then asphalt, further and further away until it's gone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

As tears go by

Two weeks remain of August and the summer, waking up next to him I'm so sure I smell fire that it can't just be a dream but it is. I reach for his hands in the smoldering daylight, his slumberous fingertips drawing outline pictures on my pale bare skin. He fucks me in slow motion while I count freckles on his back like charcoal stars in an inverted night sky, for a fraction of a second I forget about the time and space between us.

"I need to go to Berlin" he says, "with Tom". I ask him why but he changes the subject, draws a little heart on my cheek and calls me darling. Outside is salt-stained winds and worried waves crashing in from the ocean, drowning out the high-pitched sound of children's laughter.

I'll always treasure the way he looks at me when he knows that everything's already been said.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I don't care if it kills me

Four feverishly tropical hotel nights in Sainte-Maxime, wrapped up in cheap air-tight cotton sheets and insomnia. The little sleep I get is interrupted by his careful hands underneath my clothes, finding their way through the dark to where I'm warmest.

"You left me to die" Elisa cries theatrically when we get back to the house, "and parts of me did". She gets up (reasonably) early to make us all breakfast, Tom is without any traceable amount of sarcasm when he shouts "juice!?" across the table, "I thought I ordered Champagne!"

Later I hear him talking to Henry on the balcony, leaning arrogantly against the railing in his dirt beige colonial safari outfit. "Go put on that darling bikini of yours" he says with a patronizing smile when he sees me, "the one with the roses" (the thinly veiled but honestly faked British accent, can you hear it?). He closes the door resolutely behind them, I'm not meant to hear them talking and for a moment I can't decide if he wants to be Hemingway or Michael Corleone.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

On the road

Tom and Daisy have returned, more like ashes from distant vulcanoes than a fresh, soothing breath of fall. They say they've been to Argentina but her shimmering tan tells a different story - he's vainly had his mustache trimmed to look like Errol Flynn's (all similarities end there), his charcoal hair a pomade paradise.

Henry slides his fingertips suggestively across his throat as a signal for us to escape. Before I can tell Elisa he grabs my arms and pulls me away. "Leave her" he whispers, "there's no time". It's meant to be a joke but to me she a very real casualty of war, stranded with the two of them and the habitual disdain they share between them.

We drive northeast toward the mountains, away from the smell of rosemary and salt and the ocean. I have so many things to ask him but this time too I remain silent, afraid of finding out what that void in his heart was once made up of.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Prosperity, Strength, Devotion

I hear him talking to the villagers, talking about me the way they do with young, blonde girls from across the seas. Elle est mignonne ta copine, mais... pourquoi si pâle?

The stories he tells them - about our parents hastily moving to Switzerland to trade baroque paintings on the semi-legal market - are empty, bottomless holes but he keeps on digging. Yesterday he came back from Nice with a pair of silver gray silk-blend pants from Philipp Plein. "They're for the narrative, you know, Swiss nationalism and so on", he says, bursting with the restless excitement of a little child on the verge of pulling off his pièce de résistance of elaborate pranks. 

He puts them on, looks at himself in the mirror from every conceivable angle, then at me. "I don't care that he's actually German" he says, "I'm not getting a fucking Rolex".