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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

awake and dreaming

Riots take place in the suburbs and life goes on in the 16th arrondissement.

When I heard my phone ring this morning I was still dreaming. It was Monsieur calling to say I had to be there at 9 a.m. rather than 9:30 a.m. to take the kids to tennis.

I was there in half an hour, somehow having managed to shower, but my eyes were half shut and free of their usual paint job.

The day went smoothly, and after napping in a lounge chair while they played tennis in the rain, I managed to wake up a little.

We ran the usual Wednesday routine: tennis, metro home, lunch, play time, then back on the metro to the little boy's activity.

Later in the evening I managed to climb on the metro, ready for the long, squishy ride to Montmartre, a birthday gift in my purse for the little Turkish girl who makes me smile.

These metros are always packed. I was practically hugging the woman infront of me as I tried to read the words scribbled all over her shirt. When I moved to the back I tried to read the book of the woman beside me. Other teenage girls looked me up and down with their eyes. Girls love to dissect other girls.

When I eventually made it to the restaurant my young friend was behind the counter with her father, and the mother was playing cards with her son at a table. We kissed cheeks all around, and I sat down at the table, where a hot shot of Turkish tea was brought to me momentarily.

The mother's face is worn but beautiful. She wears a necklace of the eyes around her neck, the eyes that turn away bad luck and bad looks from others. She looks right through me, tells me she really likes me, that I'm always welcome, and that I'm beautiful. She hopes that someday I'll find a man I deserve: handsome, honest, kind and loving.

The girl told me not to buy her anything, so my gift is small. A token of my appreciation. A small framed photograph of the two of us at the Sacre Coeur. The family all agrees it's a beautiful photograph. "It's so you don't forget me," I tell them, but they tell me that won't happen. They tell me to visit after I leave. That I can stay in their home for as long as I like.

I love these people. I love the warmth of their culture and their attitude towards me. They feed me, speak to me, and always tell me to come back soon. When I left the father gave me a firm handshake, and told me it was a pleasure having me. "The pleasure was mine," I told him.

I stared smiling at the ceiling waiting for my metro home. A young man passed me and we locked eyes. Michelangelo himself must have carved this man's face. Swave and stunning he took a seat further on. When I climbed onto the metro he walked past the other metro cars and into mine. I'm guessing he was Italian by the way he sat, his legs open and his head up high. More eye flirting. I looked away. Another man stood in a leather jacket and bright red shoes, moving around nervously.

When he got off our eyes connected until he was out of sight. For a moment I remembered the power of eye contact, practically foreplay for me.

Before making it up the stairs and into the night, I held open the door for a chic, gorgeous woman with a pink shawl draped around her neck. She ran up so I wouldn't have to hold it too long, and laughed at the struggles these doors can cause. "It's worse when it's this windy," I agreed. She told me I was very pretty, that she could tell I wasn't French, and that as soon as I told her I was from Canada she knew it was the West coast. "I know these things," she said, "I travel a lot." She was full of life, and kinder to me than any Parisian woman I've met.

Soon these moments will play on my mind like parts of dreams that stay with you all day.

Soon I'll wake up, and I'll realize I wasn't dreaming.

"C'est à cause que tout doit finir que tout est si beau."
-Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz

(It's because everything must end that everything is so beautiful.)


Blogger LA said...

nice writing

11:14 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

amazing writing.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Carla W said...

You write the way all writing should be. Beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

I love you guys, really. These comments make my heart sing.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Robyna Burnsinator said...

Your metro sounds so much like our own TTC. A lonely way to commute, but a healthy location for our female desire with our imagined erotic behaviour with that beautiful stranger. These thoughts that whisk through us are void of any true substance or physical probability but we hold on to the fleeting moments from Union to Dundas because DAMN they make you feel hot!

I understand Gilli baby, I understand.

7:13 PM  
Blogger tara dawn said...

I've read some of your blog entries for months now as I found you through a mutual friend's blog site. You are an amazing writer and have a true gift for creating unfathomable beauty through words.

9:41 PM  

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