Thursday, December 1, 2016


Thursday afternoon, I'm in the Luxembourg Garden writing postcards to friends I lost a lifetime ago. The air smells of spring and graveyards, I'm the only one in sight wearing all black (and Philipp Plein stiletto heels). Asian tourists in beige parkas are shamelessly taking pictures of me like I'm part of the scenery. I'm not even trying to fake a smile.

Then, just as I'm about to pack up and leave, I spot him on the other end of the fountain. He's in his Wayfarer shades and the Etro scarf I got him for Christmas two years ago, alone and purposely heading nowhere. He looks right through me for what feels like forever, then turns away and disappears like a magician in the crowds, leaving me broken and breathless and cold. It's the first time I've seen him since I returned to Paris, even though I've spent months looking for him in the streets of Saint-Germain.

Whether it's a hollow fantasy or the remains of too many beautiful dreams, I stumble towards my hotel thinking that maybe he saw me and is now secretly following me back. I only stop waiting after an hour sitting on the floor outside my room, the cleaning staff carelessly stepping over me like I'm trash. I guess they've seen far worse sides of me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saint-Germain stories

Paris is slightly less of a whore than I remember. I spend most of my days half-dressed in bed with the Don't disturb sign hanging on the door knob 24/7, just in case. In the evenings I eat oysters and drink Chianti wines at La Coupole until the staff politely asks me to leave, hiding in plain sight from Henry. Every night I wait anxiously for him to show up from nowhere (because fear is, if nothing else, a feeling I still treasure), but he never does.

I sometimes fantasize about going to his apartment, to knock on his door and be invited in. He puts his hands around my neck and squeezes so hard I almost can't breathe. I pretend that it hurts me and he throws me down on his bed, rips the clothes off my body and fucks me without saying a single word. Afterwards we share a cigarette in the dim light from his kitchen lamp and he tells me that he loves the way I wear my hair now.

I was never the girl that dreamt about fairytale castles and pink princess dresses, in case you were wondering. The stories I wrote in school made my teachers call mother to emergency meetings more than once. She acted upset but on the way home always bought me candy and told me I was on my way to something truly great and beautiful.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Is this just fantasy?

My birthday somehow seemed like the perfect time to leave. I stayed up until I couldn't hear them fighting anymore and then for another hour just to make sure they were asleep. As soon as the house disappeared from the taxi's rear view mirror I began thinking of this entire summer as a dream or a fantasy at best. I've never in my life been so unsure of who and what I really am.

Since I left I've been hiding in Paris, far from Saint-Germain and Henry. I know I have to see him at least once before I go back to LA but I'm afraid of what he might do to me. I haven't seen him since I left him behind and I've ignored all his calls and text messages ever since. I've dreamt about him but never in a sexual way and it frightens me more than the surrealist nightmares I've been having since late July.

As always I'm stuck in between reality and a dream and I never know which state to prefer or wish for. Being fucked by the Frenchman made me feel alive but only for as long as it lasted. As soon as they left I was emptied of all momentary happiness like so many times before. Now I'm just wondering how the fuck I'm supposed to go on living like this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rive Gauche

I let him fuck me occasionally as long as I can pretend like his hands are someone else's or even my own. Also, he brings me opium in little brown paper bags and lets me smoke it in bed afterwards. She sits quietly on a chair in the corner of the room the whole time, watching, legs crossed, stripes of raven hair covering much of that pretty face of hers.

The past three months feel both like an instant and a lifetime, I can't decide which is better or worse. I promised myself I'd go back to LA in August but I seem unable to let go of anything these days. I've done it before, to everyone I ever loved, even the ones that ended up leaving me. Everyone except my father of course.

I'll have dinner on the balcony tonight, if you can call red wine and quail eggs dinner. He brought me those too, along with the opium, said I reminded him too much of Brideshead Revisited. It was the sweetest thing I've heard all summer. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Petit monstre

I'm slowly gathering my thoughts behind closed blinds and sheer curtains. They help me keep my bedroom cool so I can sleep through these melting summer nights. I wear too much clothes in bed and drink too many bottles of wine in the mornings, but it's the only way I have of staying sane (or something close to it).

I'm replaying dinner with the neighbors in my mind, how they looked at me when I came in, wondering if I wore that pink underwear set underneath my bone white halter neck dress like they asked me to. "He wants to fuck you" she said, "and I will let him as long as I can watch".

I have to go back home soon but the thought of LA and Silver Lake scares me more than the dark woods between the sea and the mountains along this innocent coastline. I haven't seen mother in years now, she calls me sometimes but I ignore her and the voicemails she records. I have a feeling she just wants me to tell her that everything will be just fine.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hollywood youth

I've been writing and rewriting this post a million times but I'm struggling to find the right words (or any words at all). I've been anxious my whole life but this nagging feeling is something new. I'm afraid of the dark and the light, of shadows and sunshine. Of them and of myself.

I drink far too much thinking I'll be able to sleep but it doesn't work, not for more than an hour or two anyway. Instead I keep waking up unable to breathe, not knowing if it's night or day. I'd ask for help but I don't know what to tell them, other than to make it go away.

It might have been a dream but I think I talked to S and she told me to come back to LA. Maybe I have to, maybe it couldn't hurt, maybe it's what I'll eventually do as soon as I find a way out of this whirlwind.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Behind enemy lines

She knocks on my door at 6 PM, far less distinctively than I thought she would. I haven't seen her in days, just him in his bone white linen pants and Paisley shirt, hiding those subtle glances behind a pair of shades from the early 70's.

She keeps her arms crossed in front of her while she speaks with her tenderly French accent. "Avy" she says (how does she know my name?), "we were wondering if you wanted to join us for dinner on Friday. We're making Moules". I know it's a trap but I'm walking straight in to it just to see what she's capable of doing to me.

She nods absently as if to add something to my confirmation but instead starts walking slowly back to their apartment. Just as I'm about to close the door behind me she turns around, a hint of a smile on her fairytale face and in her voice. "Oh, and we'd love it if you wore that underwear set, the pink one. It's so fucking adorable".

Monday, June 6, 2016

I like you a lot

I rented a car and went away for a while, looking for something I hadn't already seen. Story of my life I guess. I found nothing and came back unmoved to the house and the young French couple and my afternoon hours in the sun.

The height of summer is coming closer, days are longer and warmer and the colors of the houses along the coastline somehow seem a shade brighter. They passed by me earlier today, on their way to the beach, on my patio in my underwear like before I left (some things never change). I dozed off in the sun and woke up in his shadow, kneeling behind me with his hands on my shoulders and his whispering voice sharply in my ear: "I need to know what your pussy tastes like".

It's exactly what I asked for but I never thought he'd actually do it. This could turn in to a fun week after all.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Falling down

Even though we're on the edge of the ocean I'm the only one here that never goes swimming. It's not that I'm afraid of the currents or the waves, I just don't trust myself. When I was little in LA, even before my father died, I would go as far out toward the horizon as I could, just to feel what it would be like to never come back.

I did it with Chloe too, later, almost like a game we played in the dark when everyone else had gone home. Gin and medication made it even easier, we would hold hands under the surface and watch the moonlight in each others eyes until we were warm enough to swim back to the shore and the sand and the city.

Last night I woke up early and went down to that little stretch of beach just beneath the house. I stepped out of my shoes and walked slowly in to the ocean as if in a dream, so far I had to hold my summer dress up over my thighs, the cold water touching me between my legs like a skillful tongue. I've learned that nothing really compares to being just inches away from letting go completely.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Farewell to arms

He calls me "l'américaine" because he's dying to fuck me but doesn't want her to know. She sees him looking at me and calls me "la putain" because she feels threatened. I've never spoken to them but I hear them arguing through the walls almost every night before they go to bed as enemies.

It's never my intention to get in between people this way, but knowing I can still turns me on. It's my weakness more than theirs but some vices aren't worth fighting. I tried it once and it made me unhappy, much like the time I decided to drink nothing but vodka cocktails for an entire month.

People are starting to recognize me in the village too, the pale foreign girl in her black dresses and sun bleached hair. If I get too close to them I'll want to leave, so I keep my distance just in case. Summer is almost here and the nights are warm and calm and quiet.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fire and salt

The season here smells of flowers and dust but no salt though we're close to the ocean. Miramar was very different, at least in that sense.

My neighbors, the young French couple, leave with lightly packed bags every weekend, early in the morning or just before lunch. They'll return tomorrow and I'll be the first thing they see when they do. I always loved playing these little games with others, not in spite of them getting me in to trouble but because of it. Chloe is the only person that ever understood that side of me.

She never came to our summer house even though I asked her to a hundred times. It was always just us and Belle and her family, and later Carl. The three of us would sneak out at late as we could and go in to the woods, each time a little further than the last. The moon would guide us to the perfect places, but nothing made me shiver more than discovering that old empty house. I knew from the first time I saw it what was going to happen there. What I was going to do to him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


The young couple next door. Teasing him is too easy but I don't do it for him. It teases her too but this is strictly for myself, so I'll remember what holding back when I want something really felt like. I've done it before but not as of lately, so I definitely need the practice.

They pass by my patio in the afternoon and every time I feel them glancing at me in the corners of their eyes, laying flat on my back on a bath sheet. How they both pretend like they're not watching. Her: not with envy but to make sure I don't follow him for too long. Him: with a subtle hint of desperation ever since he noticed that my bikini isn't a bikini but matching powder pink underwear from Marlies Dekkers.

I know by the way she squeezes his hand as they pass that she's seen it too, it's the finest part of my day since I cut the 3 o'clock glass of Champagne. My frustration afterwards would be easily cured but instead I wait for them to return an hour later, hands still firmly gripped around my thighs. It's painless torture for all of us but I need it, if I ever want to learn.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Our honeymoon

I have two neighbors here, an elderly lady and a French couple in their late twenties. The boy is handsome, he could do better than her but holds her hand and calls her chéri as if he's really in love.

He came by one day asking for a screwdriver (not the drink), I answered the door in my underwear and acted embarrassed when he stared at my plum colored balconette bra. Since then I know he wants to fuck me but I'm not here to make friends. I stay away from temptations even when I think that she might want it too.

Meanwhile, S tells me that Henry left Paris and went back to LA. "A friend saw him at Wilshire Boulevard" she says, "he looked heartbroken". She calls me on a landline phone in the kitchen, I sit with my legs crossed on the wooden floor and listen to her talk och breathe and laugh. She's the only person I'd want to see right now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Every time it rains in the morning it feels like the first day of fall.

I'm still afraid of switching my phone on to see if he's written or called. I've stopped checking my e-mails and keep asking people in the village if they've ever heard of Avy Stanford. No one has and it makes me breathe a little lighter, at least for a while until it all comes back to me like missing heartbeats.

Easter came and went, like Christmas it never meant anything significant to me as a child. At best they were times when we overcame our dysfunctionalities and pretended we were a family for a couple of days. Mother would tell me stories from her youth, all of them fabricated but from honest intentions. My father would look at her with love, the way he remembered her from when they first met (this is what he told me). I would say that I miss those times but it was too long ago and I sometimes think that every damn thing has changed somewhere along the way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Closer than ever before

I'm renting an apartment somewhere along a quiet coastline, just to remember what it was like to be alone. There's a small marina nearby but no yachts, just fishing boats and seagulls and abandoned restaurants. I can see parts of it from the little French balcony, the wardrobe in the bedroom overflows with ivory white lace blouses and the light curtains smell distinctly of cigarette smoke and old people.

I write more than I read but nothing gets finished. Every day I start working on a new letter, addressed to him but with different sentiments depending on the dreams I had the night before. I tell him about sunrises and sunsets, about people I meet in the bakery and about how I sometimes want to be just like him; how I know that sometimes he wants to be just like me.

I write outside and in bed, by the water or on a cast iron bench between the house and the towering mountains just off the coast. Always by hand, always knowing exactly what I want to tell him, but the part I never get to is when I ask him if he'll ever accept me back.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

So we beat on

Florence was beautiful in a different way than I remembered. I'm somewhere else now, far away from him and the guilt, S kept me with her for almost a month. "I came for a wedding but stayed for the funeral" she said when we parted at the train station, her little smile a breath of both late summer and early spring.

We had fun, I forgot about Paris and slept for whole nights without the recurring nightmares. We spent hours at the Uffizi, then hours at Harry's Bar by the river close to Via Tornabouni before somehow making our way back to her apartment.  

She seems happier now, the way I remember her from years ago before the dark clouds and the chronic anxiety. I was sure that standing in front of the Annunciation again would remind me of easier times and I tried hard to feel something but I never did. Memories are fading still, my father's ghost slowly disintegrates like stardust.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The stars look very different today

I escaped to Florence and have been hiding here for fourteen days like a deserter. I went to the airport without packing while he was out buying us breakfast, turned off my phone and got on a plane to see S for New Year's. I haven't checked my Facebook or e-mails since, afraid of what he might have written (or not written).

His absence is physical more than anything, I made space for other memories to form while I'm away, yet I can't stop myself from wondering what he will do to me eventually. Will I even see him again, if I ever go back to Paris? Will he spend months tracking me down, just so he can hurt me the way I deserve to be hurt?

I thought that leaving him like this would make me feel something but it doesn't, not even the fear excites me, not just yet. Maybe if I see him again I'll know, I want to see him again, I need to see him. I need to see him again. I do.

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