Sunday, December 27, 2015

Without any fear

I used to love Christmas, now it just reminds me of hospitals.

We celebrated together, the two of us alone. He got me jewelry from Dolce & Gabbana, I got him that splatter-print Balenciaga sweater he wanted. We took a late walk through empty streets around Saint-Germain-des-Prés, I had too much wine and Absinthe and he carried me to bed and whispered French lullabies in my ear.

The thought of spending New Year's with his sister like he wants sickens me. I've managed to avoid her all autumn, he knows exactly how to make me feel guilty about it. S asked me to come to Florence, I want to go but don't know how to tell him. He looks so innocent asleep beside me, his warm pale skin almost glowing in the dark. It would be so easy to end it all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Let's embrace the point of no return

I went through his coat pockets looking for cigarettes and found something he wrote on the back of a restaurant tab (oysters at Régis). He wrote whenever we're out together I know she'll eventually disappear from me. I go to the bathroom and leave her at the table and I know that when I come back she'll be gone like smoke or the memory of a dream. I feel it the same way every time and every time my heart breaks when I turn round the corner and find that she's still there.

Other than that, I'm still somewhere in between flying and falling.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Les jours tristes

I used to hate Paris, but it might have had more to do with him than with anything else. I somehow learned to appreciate it, to look past the flaws and the inconsistencies. I learned to feel at home in Saint Germain, to walk down Boulevard Raspail not feeling like a stranger or a misfit. I've always been weak that way, restless and dissatisfied, looking more in to to the future than in to the past.

It's not that I'm over it now, I just found a way of dealing with everything that used to hurt me. When I drink too much Champagne I still think it's a bad thing, that I've turned in to my mother, a careless person unable to feel anything other than emptiness and apathy.

The shootings last week reminded me that it isn't true, that I can still feel sadness and pain and despair, and as cynical as it sounds, it makes me happy. I remember what it was like once, when I was younger and not as badly damaged, and I know that the pieces of those days are still infused in my bloodstream, hidden somewhere deep beneath the skin and inside the heart.

I hurt just like anyone else, a week later, a week of roller-coaster emotions and scattered thoughts. I'm still here, I'm alive, I'm trying to go on living. I love you.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All I want is you

For Halloween we're invited to a party in Montmartre, friends from his Sorbonne class that I've never even heard of. He needs me to dress up as the most intimidating thing imaginable: "An H&M girl".

We're on our way out when l tell him I can't be around people. It comes over me like vertigo, he doesn't ask why and I think I love him for it. I turn off the lights in his bedroom and pretend he's never coming back. If he died I'd have nothing.

I fall asleep some time after midnight and dream about motorways before he wakes me with his Champagne breath on my cold cheek. His clothes smell of women's perfume, soft, deep ruby lipstick marks on the collar of his Givenchy shirt (the one with the two black stars). He lies down beside me and puts his hand between my legs where I'm still warm.

If I died he'd have nothing.

Monday, September 21, 2015


I'm staring back at an empty reflection in the ladies' room at La Coupole, it's not the first time but something feels different. Saturday night and a sane amount of Champagne (four glasses, give or take), Henry sits at the bar with his shimmering Saint Laurent tie undone just enough to make it seem like an accident. He talks so loud I can hear him from downstairs, the two girls that joined us giggle like they've never heard his Hemingway jokes.

In the mirror I see someone that looks like me, thin but poised in her black velveteen dress and leather gloves. She's frail but composed, nothing like myself the way I've felt since I left New York. I lean forward to touch her pale celadon skin, the glass is warmer than I thought it would be. Is this how other people see me?

We follow one the girls back to her hotel, she tastes like war and has a fleur-de-lis tattoo on her inner thigh. In the morning we have breakfast together, she drinks apple juice and talks about L.A. Confidential as if she's only seen the film.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

I like you a lot

It starts on my birthday and a missed call from Carl. I leave the phone unattended on the bureau in the hall for Henry to find, a single emerald LED light blinking in the dark when he gets home, leading the way like a lantern on a dock across the river. I never let him go through my things but some secrets are just meant to be uncovered.

I plan every step in advance like a perfect murder: the careless placement and turning off the lights, letting the water run in the shower while listening to his movements from behind the bathroom door, wrapped up tight in one of his Sonia Rykiel Sirocco towels.

My heart implodes at the sound of his key in the lock at 6 PM, he takes off his shoes and slowly puts down his bag on the floor next to the bureau. The silence is deafening, I wait breathlessly for him to pick up the phone and find me unarmed and defenseless but he never does. Instead he walks past the bathroom in to the kitchen, so close I can almost hear him smiling.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

You'll be perfect just like me

We come back home from wherever we've been, minutes away from sunrise on a Sunday morning. He pays for the taxi and holds the door like a gentleman, we walk up the stairs to his apartment hand in hand and he whispers his trivialities to keep from waking the neighbours.

In the dark of the bedroom he watches me undress and compliments me on my matching underwear (powdery pink from Marlies Dekkers), not with desire but in the midst of a weary yawn. His raven black Givenchy suit hangs perfectly in the closet, my rayon crepe dress lies unfolded like a pool of blood on the waxed wooden floor.

He waits for me in bed while I smoke a final cigarette in the kitchen, watching the empty street outside and the birds. I need to find a weakness in him, something that sets him off or makes him want to hurt me. I know it sounds strange but all I can think of in the dim light is his soft hands tight around my neck, a spark in his eyes that tells me he's still alive, just like me.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Modern Times

It's only now that I treasure weekends because I know he'll still be there when I wake up. He'll sit by the bed, run his fingers slowly through my morning hair and tell me it was just a bad dream and the sun has been up for hours.

Mondays are like working without the work. I remember wanting things from life, even what it felt like, now I'm just afraid of losing whatever little I have left. He's here now, in the kitchen making drinks, humming my favorite song.

Mother had plans for me once but everything changed when my father died. I guess she knew I blamed her or she wouldn't have paid me off with a near limitless credit card. No strings attached she said but we both new that was never going to be true.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This used to be my playground

A light rain falls over Paris, I'm in bed contemplating a hundred different ways to die. Leaving would be so much easier if his scent wasn't infused in the sheets and the pillows but two hours after he was here I can still feel it getting stronger. I wear his boxers and smoke his cigarettes, trying to forget how time keeps slipping through my fingers like California sand.

I'm trapped in my mind and this apartment, everything I do to distract my thoughts is leading me back to the same conclusion: it wasn't supposed to be like this. He says we'll go somewhere when he's finished school but I've already spent too much time just waiting.

I'm running out of options but something has to change. Maybe I'll throw away my clothes, move back to New York, tell him all my secrets instead of writing them down and posting them here. Maybe I'll stop posting here. Maybe I'll just stop. I'm running out of options. A hundred ways to die.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Stop crying your heart out

Paris changed while we were gone or maybe it's the seasons shifting from late in spring to early fall. It happens every year that I forget and wear my summer dresses in October. I catch snowflakes on bare skin and pretend they're rain drops, Christmas seems like a lifetime away even when the lights come up at Le Bon Marché.

Henry is back in school, he gets down on me in the mornings and leaves me wanting just a little more. "So you'll miss me", he says. He forbids me to touch myself but knows I've always been a rebel. My fingers smell of smoke and lavender soap when he gets back home, he couldn't prove a thing if he wanted to (and I really think that he does).

It's been so long now that I can't remember life before him. I know there was one, there were other men and other stories, cities and friends I left behind like broken toys or broken hearts. I forget too easily, psychiatrists would call it the result of a childhood trauma. Sometimes it's a weakness and sometimes a strength, I wouldn't be myself without it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Don't they know it's the end of the world?

On our last evening he finds a private jazz club deep down in a cellar in Antibes. We drink red wine for a change, young men with thick beards and Wayfarer glasses keep turning their heads in our direction throughout the night. "They're all falling in love with you" he whispers and it sounds like the most wonderful thing in the world.

We get back at dawn, bags already packed, just when the sun comes up behind the mountains in the east. Leaving always reminds me of childhood and my father's car on the driveway, our summer house sealed off like a crime scene until next year and the shadows from the tall trees around us.

He drives all the way to Paris, then picks me up and carries me in his arms up the stairs to his apartment. We wake up in the middle of the night with no ocean outside our window and his hair doesn't smell of salt and opium. This entire summer already feels like a distant dream, loose fragments of a memory, and it might just be that none of it ever really happened.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

La Notte

Right where the road turns away from the boardwalk and into the country there's an old Belle Epoque style villa, slightly elevated above the surrounding brick walls and overgrown by emerald ivy. Nobody seems to live there unless they spend their days hiding in the dark behind the flaked wooden shutters.

At nights we make up stories together, events that could have transpired through the centuries, in and around the garden, inside the emptied rooms. Henry makes them real, in his mind they all happened and he tells them like truths when he speaks to people we meet at nearby restaurants and bars.

We're going back to Paris on Thursday, along with the lies and uncertainty. They kill us and keep us alive all at once, I don't even know what happened to his parents. Some day I'm going to tell him everything he needs to know about me, all the secrets I've kept hidden like stolen treasures. There isn't a bone in my body that thinks he won't understand.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Champagne supernova

I sometimes get so fucking tired of myself and our rosé nights so I make him walk beside me to the market in the nearby village. Sky above black like velvet, no longer lit up by Bastille Day fireworks, bright red poppies line the road on both sides and they remind me of Chloe.

Being here started out as way of escaping Paris and the things we should have left behind but didn't. We figured it would be enough to breathe a different sort of air, to put our lives on hold as if we weren't one day going to die.

My father used to take me for long drives in his car after midnight when mother was out or already asleep. We would leave Silver Lake and the universe and all its people and listen to the sound of the engine and our song playing on the radio. You and I are gonna live forever.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tell me life is beautiful

I watch this Riviera landscape change character through the day in a seamless, long overdue therapy session: the pale, phosphoric sunlight in the morning, reflections scattered like sequins across the ocean in the afternoon and later the dense, quiet darkness.

He envies me for being calm and it's true, for the first time in months I breathe without the sense of a lingering fear burning somewhere deep inside my lungs. "We're all waiting for something", I reply.

Mother had a psychiatrist talk to me once, a few weeks after my father had died, I'm guessing he was paid to openly declare that "she seems just fine". Sometimes I wonder who I would be if he hadn't, so I ask Henry as he sits down next to me. Champagne colored cocktail in hand, his sun bleached hair a perfect mess. "It's one of life's great mysteries" he says, "like why grown ups choose to wear rompers".

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cristóbal and him

He's obsessing over a Balenciaga sweater he found at Printemps just before we left. The stone print reminds him of Grand Central, or so he says. I let him worry because it's good for him, it takes his mind off things for a while and he sleeps less lightly.

At nights I lie awake beside him listening to the rhythm of the ocean outside. I always leave places imagining that things will start over once I get back. They never do, instead it immediately feels as if I never left, that my absence was just a glitch in time, a short moment of sleep before the morning.

It was always like that but somehow I learned to live with it and my dreams are intact, unbroken. He turns to me and looks me in the eye for a second that could last a lifetime. The poison is working, tomorrow is just another day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Les Anglais

We spend a few days in Nice, he insists on staying at the Negresco ("call Stéphane" he says, "he'll make you the best Tom Collins in this part of the world"). The shopping is not as good as in Cannes or Monte Carlo but the atmosphere is calmer, much less nouveau riche.

We're at a café on the Promenade when I remember: this is where we met when he first needed to see me almost two years ago. He wanted to tell me about Carl but waited until Paris, he hasn't mentioned it since and I never answered his question.

The fear still grows inside me like a weed, I can't control it and I know it still gets to him too. It's easier to keep quiet so we do, hoping we will some day both forget about it and move on with our lives, apart or possibly together.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Riches to rags

"I have to show my face in Saint-Tropez" he says, "don't ask me why".

As soon as we get there he changes his posture and the way he holds my hand when we quickly walk through the marina. Someone calls his name and he flinches, I haven't seen him that worried since the first time I met his sister in Paris.

We end up on one of the smaller yachts by the Quai Jean Jaurés, he nearly gets in to a fist fight but manages to talk his way out of it, as he always does. The threat of violence triggers something in him, I see it in his eyes and we make our way back home in the humid summer night. He starts undressing me in the taxi, the sex is the best we've had in months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

La Fête Nationale

He's writing on something, too long for a letter but not enough for a book. When he's done for the day he puts the pages in a desk drawer and locks it, in plain sight so I'll wonder until the next time he takes them out.

I'm doing it to him too: blogging while he's not looking, reducing him to words without giving him a chance to comment. Does he write about me? I want to ask him as much as I want him to know about this blog. Just to watch his reaction, to see what he would do to me.

Today is Bastille Day, the celebration of a violent revolution. It seems fitting somehow. We'll watch the fireworks like we did last year, then drink the rest of the night away, both of us stubbornly holding on to badly kept secrets.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Days and nights away

It takes a few days to adjust to the rhythm, I don't sleep as much as I usually do and the colors are brighter somehow. Opening the blinds to the ocean in the morning is like coming to life again after an eternity of sleepwalking in the dark.

Henry stays in bed while I make us breakfast (if you can call a glass of rosé wine with freshly baked pains au chocolat breakfast). He puts on his bone white linen shirt and joins me in the balcony but we don't talk before the alcohol starts to kick in. Being drunk in broad daylight feels just like falling through endless skies in a beautiful dream.

I try not to think or plan too far ahead, these few weeks by the sea are much too precious. Eventually it will all start over again, another summer will have passed us by and left us with nothing but the memories and an idea of what living should always be like.