Sunday, November 30, 2014

There's a crack in everything

If nothing more than November ends tonight I'm not sure we'll be alive in the morning. Every last trace of tenderness was lost in this week's morbid silence, ten words or less between us in seven days. He doesn't sleep, at least not when I'm watching.

Everywhere around me is Christmas and lights and crowds of people, I try to absorb whatever's left of warmth inside Lafayette on Haussmann and the chaos. It doesn't work, he calls me but hangs up before I get the chance to answer, his quiet breaths still just a fading memory.

Three hours to December and if nothing changes we might still wake up tomorrow. I never meant to hurt him, it just happened along the way like so many of the things I learned not to regret. My fragile heart is almost empty now, it's an overdose and a painless way of slowly dying before the winter and the snow.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Turn around and say good morning to the night

This is what he says:

"I met someone at a restaurant in Nice, or was it Antibes? Never mind. It was spring, I saw him sitting alone at another table and somehow we started talking. He was from California but felt he needed to get away as often as possible, just like us. I told him about you. No, I told him about a girl that was coming to spend the summer with me. I told him she was from New York and had a heart as black as midnight.

I described little things I loved about her, how she bites her nails when she's nervous and only wears matching light colored underwear regardless of the season. I told him about the Rose Bar at Gramercy and her morbid obsession with butterflies.

He listened without asking questions, somehow I got the feeling he knew this restless girl I was talking about. I got the feeling he had met you, that he had spent a great deal of his life close to you and knew precisely what I was going to say next. That he had seen that exact same depth in your eyes, those eyes I get so hopelessly lost in whenever I try to understand what you're daydreaming of.

We spoke for an hour, I spoke for an hour and he listened. He did this thing with his fingertips, like he was drawing something on the tablecloth. Or writing perhaps. Suddenly he excused himself and got up, told me it was very nice to meet me and started to walk away. I wouldn't have said anything if it wasn't for his last words, but they've been echoing like thunder in my sleep ever since you came here. I can't stop thinking about it and I'm afraid I'll go mad if I don't tell you. Or ask you.

He was walking away when he stopped, hand in his pocket, running the other hand through his hair as if deciding whether to turn around or not. He did, and he said: 'Tell her I forgave her a long time ago'.

With all the love I feel for you now, with every beat of my broken heart I ask you: what did you do to him?"

Thursday, November 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'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".

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whatever makes her happy

We go out late on a Sunday because the walls are closing in and we need to escape somewhere so we dress up in our blackest clothes with traces of silver and we find a place to breathe where there's music and dancing and smoke and we're high on a little bit of everything so the air catches fire with every careless beat of our broken hearts and these flashes of light come less often now because we're not as young as we used to be but it doesn't matter 'cause his eyes are glimmering like stars in a January night sky and I'm his Daisy or Karenina and they start playing hip hop right after Boys Don't Cry and we hate it equally much so we fall out in to the street where taxi cabs run us over and we're almost caught by the police but get away together down in the dark by the river banks and we're back at the hotel just when the autumn sun comes up over Paris and I fall asleep somehow while he's inside me and I dream about stolen diamonds and when he calls me in the morning it is to say that he has something that he needs to tell me and he should have done it a long time ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I feel it in the air

Paris seems prettier now than when we first came, maybe it's the cold war against this lingering summer warmth that ultimately soothes my worried mind. We spend much of the afternoon in the Luxembourg garden around the palace underneath glimmering cascades of yellow and red and crisp azure skies stretching into infinity.

He talks about his classes and the need for radical reforms (of everything), about summery Christmases in Los Angeles and early memories of his mother. Everything is tinted in pastel purple and pink, filtered through the passing of time and only deep in between the lines are those thin traces of bitterness and grief I've learned to discard as misanthropy.   

We stroll down the Boulevard Raspail to Le Bon Marché and look at multicolored trompe l'oeil prints from Mary Katrantzou. "I have a father somewhere" he says, "at least I think I do". Through it all he holds my hand in his and his ivory skin is soft and warm like cotton.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I'm always awake before him and can only go back to sleep once he's gone. All I want is for him to touch me when he lays there peacefully, caught up in a dream or a nightmare. I sometimes take his hand and place it between my legs to see if it wakes him up and when it does he fucks me in slow motion as if we're both still asleep.

Lately he's been gentle in the way he speaks to me, in the things he says and how he holds on to me when we stumble back from restaurants and bars late at night. He asks for permission to call me between lectures and lets me pick out shirts for him to wear.

This morning, just as he's about to leave in something close to black from McQueen, he stops for a second in the doorway. The sun has yet to come up from behind the building across the street, air smells of gasoline and dust. "Avy?" he says, almost whispers, his back still turned against me. "I don't want you to be unhappy".


Monday, November 3, 2014

The great beauty (II)

Summer turned to November so quickly while I wasted time sleepwalking through the cul-de-sacs of Paris and our lives. The pictures I've taken are all of places and things, no body parts except my own, covered in skin and transparent light colored fabrics. Under them the scar on my shoulder looks like a gentle brush stroke.

Henry is equally absent, I refuse to photograph him because I want to be able to forget him some day. The color of his eyes and the way his hair falls when he bows down to kiss me. Not that he'd ever allow me, he prefers watching me undress through the lens of my camera and I prefer letting him.

I'm so much younger in the photos my father took of me once, before he suddenly stopped. "Beauty" he said, "can't be captured, only remembered". That morning I had been chasing butterflies across the fields around our summer house for the very last time and in a way it felt like growing up.