I am done with work and the light lingers in the air, not wanting to leave Paris anymore than anyone else. Stay, stay, stay. Pretty girls ride bicycles in high-heeled shoes, looking chic and foolish. Clouds move with a particular Parisian lethargy. Life painted out in pensive brushstrokes.
The cobblestone streets like broken teeth and my cashmere sweater too warm for the day. I pause next to a wall with spider-vein cracks, trying to find directions to meet briefly meet a friend.
I hear words near my face in French but I do not look up; I talk to no one here. I hear words in English and there is a man, gray haired and wearing a red nose. “Excuse me,” he says. I take my headphones off. “Are you a painter?” he inquires. I tell him that I don’t paint even though at some point I did, but I was young then and eventually I became impatient with my inability to make the image in my head translate onto a canvas; my hands would never cooperate with my brain. “Well, what do you do?” he continues. I tell him that I model and he scowls, confused, like a soothsayer who believes I’ve headed down the wrong path entirely. “But you have such an artistic presence,” he says, as though I might somehow change the last seven years of my life.
To assuage his concern, I offer that I write, although that isn’t necessarily a visual medium. He looks mildly contented, though still withholding. After a pause, “I am working on a project,” he says, “And would you like to participate?” He tells me he’ll be right back and disappears through a set of pale blue wooden doors that presumably lead into a courtyard and then into an office. When he returns he is holding a packet of materials stating the intention of a book. “Mother/ Father” it reads. I flip through pictures of Freudian childhoods come to life and angry bits of mixed media.
He stands over my shoulder with his hands crossed in front of his belly, watching for my reaction.
I tell him yes.
And I never send him a thing.