Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The fog was settling in broad swirls among the streetlights. The evening air was saturated, it didn’t seem like it was raining but everything was wet and the depressions were filled by water.

The apartment had grown too small; I needed some space and I needed to be alone. I told him I was going out for a walk and took a book off the shelf and put it in my bag. We’re in a rough patch, it will get better but right now it’s tough.

How I wished I were in Paris with its streets scaled for walking, with narrow sidewalks and storefronts. I was alone on the street, the houses set back behind fences and low walls. Every few houses a dog stands at the gate and barks at me till the owner calls it in, while watching me suspiciously till I pass. There is little traffic so I’m unnerved when a car coming from behind me slows precipitously. With out looking I can feels his eyes on me and then as he pulls past, I shift my eyes while keeping my head straight and see him looking back to see if I’ll acknowledge him.

It’s not far to the depot area, about a kilometer; in the area around the station there is a convenience store, a couple of small shops, a restaurant and the pub. Only the c-store and the pub were open. Ducking into the pub I glance about, catching my reflection in the mirror. My hair was a mass of friz and that seldom happens. We’ve been in here enough to be recognized but not enough to be regulars. There is a small table in the corner and I head for it stopping at the bar to order a beer. Though it's only been a few months since France banned smoking in cafés, I’ve quickly acclimated and I wish England’s ban were already in effect.

I bring out my book
and begin reading, Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française, which has been on my bookshelf for a year. The evening past quickly and I was surprised when my phone rang and I noticed the time. It was R, wondering if I was OK and only half jokingly if I would be coming home. I told I was and he asked if I wanted him to come get me. I told him no that I’d walk and would be home shortly.


The characters: a pretty blond girl about five, a pink raincoat over a black and white check skirt, white tights and patent leather Mary Janes. Her father, a handsome man in his late twenties and her little brother about three, in a Spiderman raincoat watching and learning. To the best of my understanding the topic of discussion was about shopping and the father’s obvious lack of understanding of how important it is to find the perfect… She was clearly exasperated with him and it was reflected in her tone, which hovered just below a whine and her mouth just short of a pout.



Anonymous VJ said...

It's a lovely heart breaking book Kim. Something to read on a rainy dark night indeed. The ban's coming in soon though. There was a smart alec op-ed about it in the FT (FT.com) on how it'll only add to the pollution since the pub owners will now be obliged to heat their outdoor patios with those horribly wasteful portable propane or NG heaters in order to accommodate their smoking patrons. More carbon emissions that a million ro so cars it claimed.

Sorry about your troubles with R. It's an obvious question that seems to never go out of style. 'You coming home'? No I'm running away. (Again!?) And yes, children are spoiled basically the same way the world over. You can depend on it. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

3:06 AM  

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