Yeux disent le contraire
I am staring at an empty champagne flute. The accompanying verre d'eau and carafe d'eau are the same type of glass on the table. A glass triangle of sorts, prompting reflection.
A crumpled, or, more accurately, folded up, white paper is my only reminder that I consumed something that wasn't liquid. It held together chopsticks for the gyoza. Folding this flimsy label was a seemingly thoughtless yet strangely deliberate activity. I couldn't say no when the waitress asked me if I would use baguettes. How could I, when she was holding a fork and knife already?
I am sitting outside on the corner of rue Nemours. Across la rue Oberkampf, the contrast between la police of the HOTEL sign and the RESTAURANT sign amuses me. The hotel sign is blue and annoyingly basic but the red restaurant sign is elegant in a way that someone who wore mom jeans before they made their comeback would find elegant.
I watched a girl jump in a puddle outside a boulangerie cette semaine. C'était une mauvaise idée, her mother said at first. The girl's consternation must have stirred something in her. Puis, "C'est rien de grave, c'est de l'eau." I watched with faux concern as the last comment she would offer on the incident verbalized itself as "Demander avant de faire ça."
I sneeze twice. The black balconies of the building straight ahead of me look like crossword puzzles. Do senior citizens live in this building? My papa cuts the crossword out of the newspaper for my grandmother each day and places it beside her morning coffee. If that's not romantic I don't know what is. Arriving first to a challenge you could solve alone or set aside but cutting it out for your wife because she has claimed it as her own.
The light brick of the Crossword Bâtiment is much more paisible than the stark white facade of the HOTEL RESTAURANT. At the bottom of it all we've got some graffiti to keep it fresh (or fuel potential complaints from the seniors I've invented in my own mind).
There's a real boy with wire frames just beside me, I realize as I look down at the flowers I bought myself. We would be separated by more glass if it weren't summer. I arrived outside on the terrasse when it was happy hour. I'm on my second glass of six euro champagne.
Noshaba Ji Bazar. Discount Store. La corbeille de fruits. These are the storefronts in the vicinity of Ave Maria. I am picturing all of my undesirable emails being transformed into rotting fruit. Two women are drinking coconut drinks out of white straws. They are certainly not senior citizens but their posture reminds me of lawn flamingos. Pink and orange umbrellas adorn their drinks. They want people to know they are sipping drinks with pink and orange umbrellas. I know the umbrellas are single-use waste but I like them because they say I am not afraid to look and act as though I am at a pool party in someone's backyard. There are not many backyards in Paris. These drinks are therefore luxurious.
Sometimes we do things because we know other people would judge us for it but we want to say, "This is enough for me." For example, a basket of indeterminate overgrown plants on the top windowsill of a nearby building. Whomever put it there must have said, "Somehow, it's enough." I said the same thing to myself when I was purchasing my flowers.
I treat myself like the boyfriend I never had. I think about a particularly funny passage I read this week in A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside:
"Have you got a special friend? Do you have a boyfriend right now? What am I supposed to say? What does anybody say? Yes, but I'm not sure if I love him, and even if I did, I'm pretty certain it won't last. Or, No, it's just sexual, we get together twice a week to do things to each other's bodies, in that curious way people have, of not being able to let one another alone."
As it happens, the narrator of the book was a somewhat skeptical party to "something like both those scenarios, but [she] was never very convinced." Even without my flowers and champagne, I've managed to convince myself that I am the most significant person in my life. I guess it wasn't that hard. It's my default state. There is no other.
But here, beside me, there are wire frames. Wire frames has his hands on his (brown, leather, possibly Fossil) wallet. Funny how we're conditioned to watch for these things, even though he and I are not on a date. I decide that I will get up and pay for my champagne before I have too much time to think about talking to Une Seule Personne. I want to walk away from Asian Wok first. That way, I won't have to look up and notice he's gone.
I spend my life belatedly remarking absences. Particularly on the metro.
I remember sitting in Trinity Bellwoods park in Toronto with a boy before I moved back to France (for the second time). "Do you think you fetishize it?" he asked me as I slipped something from Nadège in my mouth.
He was talking about this country, or my perception of it. I suppose my commitment to remaining in Paris could seem a tad irrational. Would I call it obsessive? It's hard to say. A lot of my gratification in life may be linked to inhabiting this space… But crying in your room to "Youth" by Daughter doesn't sound like a fun fetish to me. When the clock on your computer reads 3:55, that's not good (even though at the back of your mind you know it's only 3:35 because you set your clock ahead to freak yourself out)...
I am freaked out, I said to one of my students this afternoon. Do you know what that means?
No, she replied solemnly.
T'es chanceuse, toi, I thought.
I've been listening to "Yeux Disent" by Lomepal all week, though. Lomepal hasn't lost me yet. He's preventing me from creating order out chaos. Ok, je suis peut-être peu stable, he says.
On profite jamais de ce qu'on a
J'ai cherché la réponse en fixant le plafond jusqu’à cinq heures
Le genre de problème qui casse un cœur