This is my third summer in this city. I pace throught the boulevards, somehow I have adjusted to the heat, I got used to my skin being slippery and reflective as a pocket mirror, my legs refusing to stay put when I cross them. The first summer I wore a tiny paisley blouse in silk, kept returning to the market to pick at the figs and bring them home, I slept in a bed that was bought especially for the Swedish Crown Princess (from IKEA). The second summer I was alone, eating Magnum Blancs, keeping my headphones in my ears, dreaming, obsessing, looking for somewhere to live. This summer I wear black dresses and espadrilles until they are threads on my feet. I walk. I have a day job for the first time since 2006. My eyebrows are darker, a fake shade of brown. My heart is, I don’t know what my heart is. Or where. From my bedroom I have this view of a beautiful cocky tall building. And a park. All of the trees have seen me naked. I’ve seen them naked too. And this week I signed the lease for another year and before I know it I will see them undress again.
I love flight mode when I’m not on a flight. When I’m in flight.
Drying nail polish. The French idea of time. Queues in Carrefour. Boys. Email replies.
As I’m writing this a phone is squeezed between my ear and shoulder. They put me on hold. Waiting in line on a telephone line to Sweden – one of life’s little tests of patience. Patience, a word I can pronounce but not brag about having. Yesterday at work I talked about concentration with my colleague and as she explained her meditation routines I could feel my mind wander. Leap, in fact. Take a run for it. At the sight of my pinball eyes, my colleague compassionately recommended me her favourite meditation app. Later, when I wanted to download it, I couldn’t remember the name. And to google it would take patience. So here I am, on the phone, with a heart that is an old computer hard drive, hissing and heating up.
If I stick my tooth brush in my mouth surely the phone lady will pop back into the receiver.
Honeymoon in my hoods.
B reads my tarot cards online, saying I have to make a choice. A choice between old and young. (In the future everyone will pay someone to make their decisions. For now though the choice of of washing powder brand and life partner is up to me.)
Then we put our make-up on and leave the house.
Ah, a local Petanque nocturne night. Potential for ramadating. That, and looking at architecture because buildings don’t go to sleep at night. Also sitting on a bench on a street making jokes, that works too.
Me and B walk north. We have a coffee in the Before Sunset café. When we are hungry we go to Rue Charonne, order a rude burger. Or was it the waiter, can’t remember. We are not happy with our tops so we go to a thrift store and buy new ones.
We have beer under a magnolia tree. I change to the new top in the bathroom and throw the old one in the trash.
Which magnolia tree we ask the iPad GPS. One in the twentieth, GPS answers.
I drink water from a street fountain. Fill my bottle, and bring it with me. By now all the fluids in my bag and body must surely be Parisian.
1. Voodoo dolls in a shop.
2. 7 different flowers plucked on Midsummer’s eve.
3. A midnight picnic of rosé and frîtes by the canal.
4. Google Translate guides me through L’Étranger.
5. A big bath and a small one.
6. I celebrated one year in Paris. With nan bread.
7. My phone is full of pictures of accidental poster art in the metro.
9. I listen to Tala over and over and never tire.
Vendredi soir, I’m in Le Passage des Artistes, writing about the lady above and thinking about materials that are very strong but also very fragile at the same time. I still think a diamond would break if I dropped it on the floor.
you start spelling weekend with a hyphen in the middle and park with a c
you know how to eat an entire croissant on the run without noticing
you start being really polite to waiters but also quite rude to your close friends.
Today, when a pigeon slapped me in the face with its wing, I thought about my Tumblr and how I missed writing in it, how no one is as understanding of pigeon assaults as my Tumblr. Et voila, bonjour!
One morning your flatmate plays you “All you need is love”, because according to him it’s that easy.
But, you ask him, love, you need it for what exactly?
Is there an instruction manual? Is it enough to just order it and put it on a shelf? Can you buy it like an expensive cream and casually apply it?
You once bought a really overpriced ab toner. It didn’t give you any abs, that’s why it was overpriced. It had wheels and two handles, was blue. Buy this and they will come, the ad said. It’s still in the cupboard, in its box. All you need is an ab toner, you once thought, but it turns out it wasn’t that easy.
All you need is love.
What are you supposed to do with it? Let it collect dust next to my hover and ab toner in the cupboard? They will not get along.
Succumb? Ignore? Use? Embrace?
Or, maybe, this is your solution for everything, fill a bathtub with it, not as a substitute for bath oil, but instead of water.
You could put your entire body in it. Let the love cover all your limbs, reach you all the way to the nose.
But, darling, this is the thing, you are already quite impatient, soaking in that love might work for half an hour, but then what?
But, darling, this is the thing, you are looking kind of tired, getting in that water, you might fall asleep and drown?
You’re not in French class anymore, but do try to A) find the right verb and then B) apply it to love like a secret ingredient that makes the best brownies.
Decide on a verb. It could be ignore, it could be devour.
Find a verb and, then, supposedly, all you’ll need is love.
"I put that glacier on your little hand
Now that’s the only thing without a tan”
Kanye West on Future’s “I won”
My blog turns one year old today. This what I wrote when it was new:
| Sunday night.
Well, at least the prosecco headache is punctual. Last night: the climax of the Eurovision season. For a week the medium sized Swedish city that has housed me during the last years was “the centre of Europe”, at least according to the flown-in designer (of the hostess’s dress) I spoke to in a purple-carpeted hotel conference room early yesterday morning
Next year the finale will travel across the bridge, 20 minutes away. And me? I have no idea where I will be.
At that point I had just stepped out on the other side of a six-year-long relationships and I had no real plan except to spend the summer in Paris. Before I left I went to the cinema when I had nowhere to go, worked so much I didn’t have the chance to properly prepare for leaving, slept on people’s couches until it got too exhausting and I moved back into the flat that was no longer my flat and slept on a yoga mat on the floor. I had a goodbye party in the yard that was not my yard anymore. Everyone brought crisps, there were a lot of crisps, my brother brought raspberry mojitos in olive jars, one friend brought a really fresh infant was so small it was barely there. No sentimentality, I demanded, but then in the end I was the one with wet eyes, sitting there with D on the the curb behind the house that was no longer my house. When I left I didn’t pack any autumn clothes because I didn’t expect to stay until autumn.
Last month I listened to Billie Holiday’s April in Paris and while walking through the park that is now my park I was for the first time able to confirm the lyrics, that in April in Paris the chestnut trees are in fact blossoming. I want to post the rest of the lyrics here, the ones about how she (I) never knew the charm of spring, never met it face to face. How she (I) never knew her (my) heart could sing. But, yeah, the words will look banal here in my tiny little tumblr hole. I will listen to them instead.
“Maybe I became a writer because I’m always looking for a new audience to tell the same stories to.”
Leigh Stein, “Bury the dead”, Gawker 2014.
I always think about you when I’m drunk.
Yeah well, autumn weather and and you walked your new shoes into good manners. They no longer harass your feet as soon as you leave the house. Your leg is still not completely healed, but the limp is almost gone. The doctor pointed at the black snap in the bone on the x-ray, predicting a few more weeks of a hip telling you ouch every time you rise and get off the metro at the right station. It’s true, your body is a temple, but it’s like temple of Poseidon or Knossos or something, by now a ruin, a mess. People might still look at it, talk about it, imagine it’s original functions, but it’s definitely not what it once was.