Tuesday, May 6

Moulin

IF ON THE last day of the month I wrote, then I shall not write again until the sixth of the next. I sit here, pained, not a word to put down. When the days are warm and the sun is high up in the sky, there is still a cold wind. It nips. I end up sitting here with nothing to write; not a word; what kind of a hero am I? At night the streets sound like running water, water that is running toward a moulin, before disappearing its sound into thin air that is blue and that is clean. This city is leaning out of its window to say hello, while, oppositely, I find myself withdrawing.
Is it too much to ask to be able to sit upon a park bench and not find myself troubled, at once, by the love at my side and the distance of a thousand nameless haunts? That is how I feel; a peculiar foreboding that I cannot explain with all the unaccented wonders of the English language at my disposal. I stroll in the park, unalone. I have perfect days because she has perfect days, and it is upon her happiness that my own is contented to feast. The sun is cast strongly against the side of the cathedral, illuminating all its details of dead saints and worn-out birds. Lovers and friends lie down on the grass; two German children play in the fountain, splashing the water; a wedding happens off in the east, tacked playfully against the spring afternoon. And so fully the city purses its rivery lips! Across the millennium bridge the vendors whip roasted chestnuts into the sky and I am unalone.
It is one thing to heavy on through life as though it owes you a favour, but to be sad when you are in credit? That is deplorable, and I am, if anything, deplorable.
Around the base of the airport, all the land is bowing down. A brisk coolness is about—still I sweat!—and the planes, taking off and landing, are close enough to touch. I am in the southwest for a meeting. Something is off and I am so nauseous that I could vomit. I haven’t enough money for a coffee, so I buy a can of coke and grind my teeth to pass the time. The meeting is held in the rear of a large hangar. When the meeting dulls—as it inevitably does—I am inclined to straighten up in my chair and peer out. The plane is shining white, a knight. People busy in and out of its small doors and, there, beyond the open hangar doors, the day is fine. All around is activity like the faraway city but with a colour that is strange and is glowing, and I am impressed, enamored.
At night the trains rattle by . . .
She is up on her elbow, tempted by my command, to move down to my waist. The train’s flickering windows light her up. She is static, moving over the bed, discarding the duvet atop the sheets; a flash pricks her against the wall once and for all.
A magpie is tapping its tail on the fencepost outside. I see it: a solitary magpie. ‘Do you see that?’ she asks, and I tell her that I do. ‘Then it’s not just me . . . I’m very superstitious.’ The magpie is pausing, catching its breath before alighting; when it does, the magnificent pose of its wings strikes me. I am in love with its movements. Down on the coffee-table, there are flowers. They glow, intertwined, on green stems, each flower facing the sun in the final salute of a play. I trimmed the stems myself, at an angle. Medusa had something to be ashamed of. Their peach and yellow faces smile at us, at me, unalone. When I leave my flat, I am greeted by the scent of blossom. It is a sticky, sweet affair with a musk not unlike that of semen. Below, between the cobbles, lay small white blossom. They are so delicate that when my shoes, and the shoes of my neighbours, fall upon them they are to become broken, translucent, unbelievable, as if they existed once upon a time in a state of perfection, lingering on the branch of something as old as I. Now they have fallen, and now they rot. Now they charm the earth into spring. I am walking among them, to work. It is another day. I have that.

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