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Saturday, November 19, 2005

searching for warmth

I forgot what it felt like to have the air bite my skin. "Bite harder," I dare it. A gust of wind hits my body and it does.

I used to like the fact that my shower always ended in freezing water. It felt somewhat cleansing. But these days I pray for it to stay warm, and curse the water when it stops showering me in warmth. I can't imagine what it'd be like to live in extreme poverty, taking cold showers in the winter, if any shower at all.

When I walked into the family's apartment yesterday about ten people stared back at me. They were there shooting a publicity ad for AWOL, snapping shots of a christmas tree and gifts in the living room, a large beautiful iMac on the kitchen table where they observed the results. I had to work around them, cooking up sausage and mashed potatoes for the family's dinner. I tried to work quickly, and managed to melt the salt holder on the stove. They were all warm to me, some flirtacious, until one man turned to me and said "How much longer are you going to be? It's hard to work with the smell of cooking." I stared back at him. I didn't want to be there either. "I just have to wait until the sausages cook." I couldn't make the family sick off half cooked meat because he couldn't handle the smell of sausage.

Afterwards I decided to find warmth in a small restaurant I'd spied months before. My table was right beside the door, with cold air seeping underneath, but I found warmth in conversation with my waiter. Half way through my salmon salad I was the only person left in the restaurant, so I got to choose some old blues music to play, and we talked about life in Paris. "Where do people go here at night?" I asked. "They sit at home, in front of their TV's. It's cold out and everyone is miserable." He's planning on moving to Australia or San Fransisco where he has family. Paris just doesn't do it for him anymore.

I told him I'd be back and took off walking. I went into beautiful clothing stores, discovered new restaurants I'd like to eventually eat in, and went into a bead store, so that I could begin making my own jewelry.

Back at the apartment, I had to dodge the publicity folks once more as I ran in to grab my paycheck so I could go grocery shopping. "Sorry, have to grab this, thank you."

Late in the evening I got a call from my Columbian friends inviting me to a rumba party. Dancing until six in the morning. I paced for about an hour trying to decide. My head ached and I kept sneezing from an oncoming cold. It was hard to refuse, but I did. As warm and festive as this party would be, it was a night to find warmth in my own company.

And I did. I cocooned myself in my bed, and indulged in several episodes of Sex in the City on TV, barely noticing they were dubbed in French. At one point a character said "She just got back from Paris, humour and irony aren't in style there." I laughed and nodded my head.

I slept over 11 hours for the first time in years.

And now it's back into the cold city, searching for a warmth I know exists.

an angel looks over the city
rooftops for romantics
a different view of notre dame
sunset over seine
go play in the traffic
the sun paints in gold


Anonymous Morgan said...

It was great talking to you today... miss you gilly.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Electronsean said...

cities are always cold. I imagine even Rio is cold in some respects.

3:09 PM  
Blogger baylor said...

Your pictures capture the brisk always capture the beauty!

Thinking of you!

6:36 PM  

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