Sunday, 25 September 2016

Thoughts on a Complex Passion

September 20th 2016

Two years since we met, your gaze
has become watchful, knowing 
my fragility, now, as you would comprehend
the fissures in 
a favorite cracked vase
you try not 
to break when 
pouring fluid in. 

Now, I only have tiny 
amounts of wine.
We know how I can get sick after a single glass and cry. 
And run to the bathroom locking the door, 
like that other time, you 
attempting to get in, because maybe you think
I will commit some kind of self-damage
alone, with a razor or other improvised

weapon of self harm. I won't, but you don't know it,
that I'm not envisioning self harm, and maybe I made 
you worry more than I realised at the time.
Anyway, they don't teach this, do they 
at boarding schools in England's remote fields?
How you handle a crying woman in a bathroom? 
They teach you to write to a far away mother.
Seal it and put a stamp on. No tears.

Two years in. And now we know everything there is 
to know about each other. We know it like we know 
The Songs 
of Innocence and Experience.
We know how to steer this carriage we find we're in
together and how fast this love 
chariot drives in each different gear.
And how to press emergency stop.

It is good.
All fine. I think.
After the derailments and the rifts, the coffee dates and messaging
with the various chancers and newcomers, tried out to see if
there was anyone we preferred, like choosing a garment
that is the best fit and style on us and moves 
how we want it to move like some exquisite fabric,
the perfect fit.

Back together - you say,
look it may not be forever.
And I sense that you won't get aboard.
Because you will be up,
high in the tower, 
watching for other ships, still thinking
there could be some better option, some younger girl
docking in a glamorous port; you warn me it may not last,
shining the lamps for me on the rocks.

And what am I to do?
Just sail away, into oblivion?
Or moor the little coracle on an island alone, 
lighting the kindling of my own tiny fire? 
And when you return like a seafarer with many stories to tell, 
do I surrender again at command, saying,
'So tell me then?' The only consolation, the pillaging of ideas
for the novels you and I one day will write...
And am I still in your contacts?
Do you have me on speed dial or someone else?

I would like to drop you in the sea like a piece of cherished
worn down glass I no longer have space for in my pebble collection. 
No, I don't want a sybarite, I want your heart 
stowed away in the curve of my little boat, 
and sealed in box and bow so no one else
can get it. This is what I want, really want, but I'd never say that
I want it all, want for nothing but for you to mirror me and say,
yes, it is all or nothing and yes I want it,
forever in your arms until death parts.

But you win me back anyway. By chance, for no reason, we are 
discussing sports cars and you play me Paradise by the Light of 
the Dashboard.  You sing me it. Singing, part of your 
charm arsenal. Could have been written for you, you say...
Did you copy the lyrics out from the middle stanza where she
tries to extract a marriage promise from the ambushed man?
You know me so well. And I know it. We both know
how I say the right things but will agree to anything...
And I know I am entirely transparent.

And even as I rock about in the little storm of my passion
whilst you look on saying, it is just half-love, be ready
for this all to end, (and other such commitment-phobic euphemism) 
I stage anniversaries of first dates, 
Rosé with lunch, 
(as it was that first day), the pink cardigan again, like
the first time; arrange birthday dates, 
drinks I know that you like, such as Cassis, or Strega, 
imagining you under my spell. This time 
he will not get away! I'm working on this behind the scenes! 

Sometimes I wonder if I am in love with love 
instead of in love with you. Is the real you in the picture at all ? 
Or a mere vision, a version of you?
And you warn me, you can love me as madly, as I want, 
but could hurt me badly, and you mean it, no doubt, although at least 
you say it straight...
'Remember what they say about me, sweetheart, 
'Mad, bad and dangerous,' don't say I never said!'  And I could
sail on. Sail by. And
I picture you lighting up the lamps of the lighthouse, 
whilst I want to sail across oceans.

The island has people on it now.  
I made sure I would not be alone.
If you want me then leave the tower and come right down
to the sandy beach. It's sandy see? Doesn’t hurt the feet.
Splash through the shallow waves, warm and never cold.
And into the deep water.  
No rocks.
Into the boat. Heart ideally for a ticket, I'd like to add,
but I don’t.  I tell myself that I have it 
and he has mine, as he steps in for nothing but charm.

And to me we are inextricable, fused into one and it does not 
really matter where he is because I am inseparable from him 
as the cells of his being. And meanwhile I wear him around the house,
even whilst miles away, and even if I wanted to cast off this garment
and run off somewhere else without it, he would still be there.
I did not choose it. Just
happened. Love chooses us. And in his absence I 
cradled an imaginary him, never got over it, just replaced
absence with an imaginary him. 

Yesterday, I read it back, a diary entry from before, barely able 
to read it over. ‘I am nothing without love,’ apparently I wrote.
I could never write such a line now!
I want him because I like him, but not because I feel like
I cannot survive without the man. And 
I’m in the boat, waiting,
but not for long, not for long as it will take him to cut
out his heart and leave it like a blood stain 
whilst I drag aboard a corpse. 

I could call the yacht All or Nothing.
Whilst he calls his tower Half-Love Hotel.
And stranded in the in-between he flutters an agreement
before my startled eyes -
I call it a ‘pre-fuck’.
It is full of warnings and opt out options.
(But I have an opt-out date in mind. The last laugh to be mine.)
And the Strega will be drunk on his duvet spread like a 
beach blanket in a forever holiday romance.

Stranded between - the sybarite and the hopeless romantic,
the scissors are on a high shelf and no cutting out hearts
or sick-inducing rollercoaster rides.
Where are the others? 
That other girl?
Whilst we are drinking this Rosé,
this Strega, they are gone. Does it matter?
You’re the one. You say when you’re drunk. 
Sign here. Sign it in ink and blu-tack it onto the wall.

Dire Straits
Romeo and Juliet 

September 25th 2016
on the second anniversary of our first date...

Haven't heard since last Friday at 20:37!
Filed then under missing person /
gone to St Tropez with that girl who invited him
to a Regatta on the internet. (A Regatta now !!)
Meanwhile, I dally writing love poems on the 
'second anniversary' of the first time we met
off-line and wondering if I can (with a clear conscience) publish 
this spontaneous literary flurry before he reads over them, and if not, then
how do I find the missing person so he can check
my portrayal does not depart too much from
his self-vision as perfection personified?  Better not risk it. 

Though I want to publish everything, being an exhibitionist.
He knows about this exhibitionism (knows everything) and 
whilst drunk has agreed to being written about, but I am unsure if 
this counts as agreement.. (sigh)  I could of course Phone. 
But what if he does not answer and I'm left there just
Hanging on the Telephone ? At least we both like Blondie.
The one thing we have 'in common.' Anyway, supposedly we have a date 
lined up for tomorrow. 'I will arrive early,' I said, but 
it was only pencilled in.
We have not confirmed.

So lost now between thinking
that this is a 'prep' day or I should just get on with my
novels. Stranded in the no-reply-for-a-day waiting 
room of angst as though the plane is delayed without any
explanation at all. What did this to me anyway? What made
me into this tragic Juliet awaiting her Romeo like for sunrise?
his last message incidentally, a link to the Dire Straits song Romeo and
Juliet to which I did not reply for half a day as I was out. I was just
elsewhere at some gig in Portobello. 

Perhaps he’s filed me under Missing Person / out with that man 
who accosted her on the internet the other day.
Maybe not. But why did I leave it so many hours?
Like a rejection.
And that brief reply to the link I sent. 'Oh yes, I remember that track. 
Good one.  Have to go out now. Bye.' 
Over confident. Feeling like I had the 'upper hand' for a while...
but now, two years since our very first date of the internet,
I hover as a butterfly on a plant that in my imagination
today is dead, but will burst back into bloom the minute
a message lands into my inbox. Anyway, I always said
he knows just how to 'play me', and he does. Yes.

I am right there on the turntable now and I expect he can
hear these laments even via telepathy, wherever he is even
if watching the little yachts, sails like the pristine new untouched underwear 
of some new lover, shimmering in a patina
of suntan oil like a girl ready basted for lustful consumption.
She's probably sent him the single airfare to Nice. 
I won't even try to compete. What is the point?
Anyway, I should do something else. Yes. 
Instead of writing a poem about the poems I cannot publish
until he reads them and says, fine, pin them up, pin me
up for a slating. For the devouring eyes of your readers.

Where is he? Is he asleep? Is he  (you never know)
dreaming of me?
Anyway, I never got over it. Or over him.
And neither of us ascribe to no texting rules.
Except evidently this has changed on his part 
and she perhaps has said no texting to your ex
lovers. Perhaps this is the explanation.
Not sure it's going to happen. The two dates
set up for this week. Will we ever make it to
the so-called 'Strega day', just the first of many 
birthdays together, each named after a different liqueur -

a different spirit to be sampled, 
birthday after birthday, 
until we die.
This is the idea. 
But he does not know about it yet.
About the last scene I scripted in at his death-bed
when he old and ready to slip out of my arms into
I have not told him he must wait for me patiently and not talk
to other women or text them. We do not talk about the future.
He says, 'Don't ever look ahead and no promises.'

I said, a few times, 'By the way, if you think the old 'treat them mean'
adage actually works you would be quite wrong...'
Anyway, I think he is in his apartment
and deliberately holding out so he can 'pretend'
he is at the Regatta. That's it. And he is simply making
his breakfast, and thinking well, it's Prep day, so I'd
better tidy round, as in, move a shirt off the floor, 
push those papers into a slightly neater pile instead 
of an avalanche, put all the things she left here in a little heap 
for her to have back. Bracelets and stockings with bows on.
She likes to make her presence felt... he smiles. 

the this smile infects me like contagious telepathy, and
makes me smile... I like this imaginary friend. 
And perhaps he is thinking, how many 
hours until she is here?
Shall I phone her?
But I don't want to 
disturb her,
my Juliet...
I'll just smooth the covers on the bed.

December 19th
Not an anniversary of any day or date.
Just another day in the year.
We've done the birthday Strega,
and had the peace offering Cointreau after one or our break ups,
and I suggest tequila next but intend to hold off until Valentine's;
then says he can make a good marguerita.

So next time at his apartment,
a basement near the River Lea, which has become now,
my favourite River -
the footbridge to the fields beyond reminds of crossing the fence
between my back garden in my childhood home and the fields
beyond, the same angle on the railway track cutting through
we drink margueritas,

side by side on the couch,
with the margueritas he made...
Tastes of the sea, I said, like being
underwater, and swallowing
brine. ''Yes, but you get past that," he says.
"Is it sea salt?" I ask.
"Himalayan salt."

My last marguerita was in Paris in around 1996.
Twenty years ago.
About the same, he says.
And twenty years from now perhaps we'll have the next one.
Tequila day.
December 19th is tequila day.
Remember that day?
By then we will be so old.

How long can we make it together?
How long will this last? Does it matter?
We are just adding one day to the next,
one date onto another like a string of them...
a string of crystals
and whenever it breaks we mend and rethread it
again because somehow it matters more than we
ever imagined it would.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Paris Runaway - Part One

The night was a most wonderful thrill, from the minute I found the journal I had inadvertently left on a counter in the bar Polly Magoo on the Rue de Petit Pont, breathless as I arrived to retrieve it, and then stowed it into my satchel for a while, the fountain pen zipped away, and made for Quai de Tournelle.

A bronze statue in Place de George Cain

Before leaving for Paris, I had bizarre symptoms which I don't want to discuss in detail. Suffice it to say that for a few months I had suffered severe chest pains, for which no explanation could really be found, like a vice around the heart. Tests proved that there was nothing wrong at all, no heart disease or cancer, although I was found to be anaemic. Perhaps the pains also were somehow in my mind, for in summer, the pains began to migrate to the wrists and I imagined blood pouring out, these visions unbidden, almost like hallucinations. Earlier in the year I had hoped that I could get a fatal illness; the picture of my psychological health was not good at all for the first half of the year. I decided to go to Paris in a kind of 'nothing to lose' spontaneous decision. Surely anything would be better than the frequent complaints at home that I was in pain and could end up in hospital. 
    The decision about Paris, was not so much a mediated, intellectual decision, as one that was driven, and I don't know where a 'drive' comes from so I won't speculate about that. I am not an analyst, so I will not begin to try. I can write about it, but cannot explain only set it all out on paper and then reflect, writing in a sense becoming looking-glass, partly in the context of a very protracted process through which I will eventually access psychotherapy, but only after a wait of about a year. Anyway, I could not risk sinking further down, and day, after barely any trips out during this year, I went to Hampstead Heath swimming. And somehow the moment when I dived into the pond there was hope… 
    Sometimes it is best to keep it all quiet. Since talking about Paris, I met with detractors. With critics who seem to think that I placed myself in a vulnerable position and often when provoked, when pushed like this I will say - no - don't pathologise that matter, this is twisting it into something that it's not. PARIS.... The experience felt almost like a pre-written, perfectly composed story unwinding as I followed it around like a trail of clues, one place leading to another, or a thread that led me round the city, the pivotal point of the stay, an encounter with the pure puissant energy, the ripple of muscle, and the somnolent French of a man with arms strong as the wings of an angel, wrapping me in like a precious gift on a hidden bench towards daybreak as we awaited the pouring peach juice of the sun over the river Seine, knowing I would then move on, Northwards towards Pere Lachaise but nevertheless just sucking up each moment like a bee draws pollen from a flower.
    I had a whole route planned, and, whilst willing to skip the night-shimmer of the Café Charbon, on Rue Oberkampft, I felt as compelled to pursue the rest of the way, as you would wish to get to the top of a tree you had set about wanting to climb in order to see the view. And anyway, I am not the kind to cling... So although, by mid-way though that August night, I was already enamoured with the dark looks of my Frenchman, born in Paris, grew up in Guadaloupe, engineer for the SNCF, with a penchant for writing hip-hop inspired by Jacques Brel - a heady combination, it would surely be fair, and even (perhaps) objective to say... n'est-çe-pas? - an actual Parisian ouvrier, a skilled worker, in the context of a sultry climate - I declined (and perhaps this is the real madness!) the invitation to his 'banlieu' (suburb for those who don't speak French) apartment, unwilling to put a train ride between some remote dwelling and the transport I had arranged to travel home... And I do feel a pang of guilt to have left him barely hiding a crestfallen sulk, but I could not have everything. Daylight and cemeteries, canals and Parc de Belleville, or a few brief hours of pleasure I would never forget but at the same time would one day just file away with other flings. There are, to be honest, few of those; I was just trying to sound 'cavalier' for a minute! but I am not sure I am convincing however, being mainly a rather held back individual with barely a chance to get out!
      Paris... I will treasure every minute of the trip and even what seemed like a malnourished solitude that bordered on the mascochistic, but since return I have divulged an edited recount of what I got up to in the form of an earlier version of this fragment of written work, and it is is all rather strange. Not quite the most accurate words to use for the assertive voices of the 'detractors' who have read an earlier account, but I can't quite describe how I feel. Unnerved perhaps. It has been suggested even, that I had some kind of a 'death wish'. Why else would you stroll the deserted banks of the Seine at night? Why would any sane woman put herself to such risk unless she was hovering on the brink of a depression pushing her right to the edge. What madness! What foolhardy risk say the critics but they just don't seem to 'get' that I felt like I had landed in heaven, that remote rain-sluiced stretch of the riverbank where we met not in fact a death-trap but quite the opposite, and had I done different I would have been limited to a far narrower range of options such as checking back into the hotel with the grim floral wallpaper in the hallways, or another little hotel perhaps somewhere on my 'route', Paris far from over booked; if not settling for coffee (several) at the Café Charbon on Rue Oberkampft, the intended destination, over-wired then by the morning on that sweet dark fluid, and what would I find to inspire in such a place? I could write about the gleam of chrome furniture, the handsome waiters adorned in black aprons, the neat shirts, their clean shaven servile countenance. But in Paris I found myself lamenting in my diary that no writers were to be found writing alone in the bars, that I was a solitary example, and why do I persist to do it? Why this self-torture as an onlooker with just the sparse covering of my diary for comfort, everyone in 'a group' except for me, because 'writers', as far as I know, are actually inclined to live first, and not only write about writing on a café table ? I could invent a story, that is true, from imagination, but is not imagination best reserved for long, cold winter days at home? And when you don't have all Paris at your feet and it stays warm all the night and is dark for such little time that you can see it darken and lighten again in what seems like minutes and not hours, time kind of intangible, no clocks required but the morning bells to stifle the flow of experience. Whilst in Paris I wanted as much of it as possible, not the bleak quadrilateral of a hotel room I would accustom to like it was a prison cell after a few hours, the logic of each glass and fold of curtain, light bulb and bedside piece of furniture soon an indelible imprint in my mind's eye, even when I briefly left, not the interior of hushed museum galleries or even the floral flower beds of the gardens, but the outdoors and preferably those remote, rather darkened corners of Paris where you feel it as a match for the liminal fraying edges in the mind's hinterland... off track, off piste where you can be and do as you please as no one is watching least of all yourself. Not that I am often at liberty to wander in Paris and I had not been alone abroad for some twenty years, so my vision of this stillness, this quiet dark cloud of unknowing floating as some ethereal vapour into which I would somehow find myself immersed, the sparkle of sun or moonlight on the wrought iron balconies and pewter roof a distant background beyond somehow cradling it in, was a vague idea based on very infrequent past experience... Or perhaps it has come out of poetry and reading novels set in Paris.

Discussing the trip with a friend of mine, one of the readers, in fact, of this blog, and a man who came on board from the relatively early days of writing it, I mentioned the sheer wall up to the right, the rats skirting the trees, in the intervals I was taking from writing a poem about the night depicting the red stain of light bleeding off the pleasure boat into the shot silk of the river waves... 'And that's when I realised the danger of entrapment,' I said. 'How I left myself without escape from a potential adversary, my only exit via the deep river to the left; but look, no worries and let me reassure you it was all just fine because the man who I chanced to meet that night was sweet as an angel, and protected me all night from all harm, and instead of wasting time on pretentious posing around in some all night-café, writing pretentious poems, superfluous to the requirements of the literary world, I had a wonderful adventure with a Frenchman aged twenty-six to my forty-eight who could not have been more charming. We shared a bottle of Muscat under the ink dark midnight sky. Just so perfect. An unforgettable night.'  
   Silence for a while. And then a message. And suddenly you find that a near flawless memory (of the kind that you cherish the whole of your life, taken out like a favourite piece of treasure or jewellery from a velvet lined box, like a story that you made, or somehow found, like a found ready-made in your path, that you turn to over and over thinking at the times when your life is reduced to typing and editing and drinking tea, yes I have lived, I lived when I had the chance and this was the best that I could find to do in the small glimpses of unfettered time that I had to play around with on my terms) is as if some bad spell is cast, into a site of almost academic debate, like some dialectic is at play that you had not given thought to at all. And you start to field ideas about what is safe and how to navigate the border between danger and reasonable risk. And I began to see it through another kind of lens, as if my innocent vision of an almost prelapsarian kind of Adam-Eve state there had been shattered with some new knowledge. So perhaps the night-time is not my domain?  
   I began to think back to when they put me in hospital. When they said I had gone 'psychotic' and began to think that the mechanisms even of perception perhaps were somehow damaged so even that thought could perhaps be invalid. Potentially no thought was real. And I felt the ground become unstable and this is how I feel about the questions raised about this Paris trip; the terrain, the nature of the debate is being pulled out of my hands as if there are other remits, other rationales and my perspective is flawed and to be somehow pathologised.  The message:
re: you and 'dangerous' personal view is quite strong ... anyone - especially a woman - who puts herself knowingly in harm's way - is very foolish bordering on stupid... unless they have a black belt in something or are accompanied by a trustworthy friend/s ... even then not wise depending on the degree of potential danger... I do think you allow your romanticism or something more psychically acute to potentially influence you a tad more than is wise in such situations... written in good faith and your best interests at heart! 

As a girl I was a tree climber and mountain climber, lost, on more than one occasion, on a wind ravaged mountainside in Wales or the Lake District with nothing but a compass and a damp Ordnance Survey map once I was a Sixth Former, and once back on route I would unroll my sleeping bag in some mountain hut beside a total stranger bedding down, never once taught to inculcate a fear about possible murderers or unpredicted dense fog in which you could lose your way. So I don't have a sense of fear about the night. In all fairness, however, and to concede a little way towards the 'death-wish' idea, I wonder if the absence of sensed risk until the last minute, or the way I settled for a higher risk quotient than I usually would when I walked forth along the apparently deserted bank of the Seine, fearless, even a little thrilled beneath a ragged lace of leaves over head, and the swoop of water to my left like a false floor on a stage that could so easily part to let you fall down, down into the hidden world beneath the deception of as sealed surface that could part as easily as a silk robe, had a kind of caution-thrown-to -a-storm facet, so perhaps they were right.

The diaries of the run up to the Paris trip reveal a borderline depressive state and yet lit up as if with a fairy light of hope here and there...

31st July 2016
I start the day feeling wretched like some sick poison is running through my veins, the same sickness and same nausea I felt last night coming over me in waves. I wonder if this is caused by my new disciplined approach to nutrition, kind of a detox process I don't quite understand, consumption limited to yoghurt, an egg and lentils for supper. Occasionally I permit the luxury of Goldenberries in addition from Waitrose covered in raw chocolate.

1st August
Again I wake up feeling appallingly bad. I don't love aloneness, my own narcissistic company and get sick of myself to the point where I want to destroy it, like I have lived with the same person (me) for so long that it feels like a burden I have to carry round thinking, why won't she go away? Perhaps I should go to Paris. Just somewhere that distracts me from here....

For months I had suffered from a range of unwanted and quite bizarre and unexpected physical and emotional symptoms....  suffice it to say here (this is an edited version of a much longer piece of work) that there came a stage where I did not want to risk sinking any further down. So one day I forced myself to leave my local area after weeks of barely going out but for the shop, bank, school or the doctor's surgery, to go swimming in the mixed point on Hampstead Heath, a leafy area in London, not far from South End Green, (a side of me somehow dragging the rest out) and from that day I found that I stopped crying quite so often, and although I still awoke every day feeling desolate, there were occasional positive thoughts in the diary entries I wrote - the mention of the Goldenberries and the idea to go to Paris, too new glimmers that show I was not seeking a way out of life. 

2nd August - and the street door slammed shut, sudden as a scissor cut through an umbilical chord. and then I was out and looking straight ahead, East, towards the tube station at Holborn.  On the tube-train, all too rapidly passing stop after stop of the central line - St Pauls, Liverpool Street, Bank, Mile End... somehow no time at any point to make a decision to exit and reverse the trajectory, I stared at my reflection thinking no way back for the duration of two whole days, and the tube is sucking me further and further from home and somehow I cannot reverse the direction I decided to take, cannot coerce myself to spring out through the swish of an opening carriage door, and cross over to get the West bound tube back the way I have been, although in theory, this is so easily done and the children are far behind and left there without me, without mother...  and if I keep onwards then soon I will set a tube ride, a car-ride, a whole sea, a mesh of motorways and then the Paris suburbs between me and the beloved offspring... 

A shoal of early morning thoughts swimming through my mind and then the tube pulled into Stratford and I descended and exited the tube station into the greyish dawn light. 

The driver (of the internet booked ride-share) arrived after a flurry of further texting on the lines of - 

Where should I wait?
at the escalator/taxi rank
Are you sure there is only one escalator?
Yes, near the taxi rank.
Sure? I don't want to miss you because I am in the wrong place.
I'll be there.
Where are you?
Seven minutes away. Traffic
- how much longer now?
two minutes. driving up.
I'm wearing a red and white dress, just so you know. You can't miss it.

Waiting, I tracked every Nissan Prius (his car) as it swung into the taxi area, checking for a man who matched the profile-photo on the website. I reflected on the tall intriguing building ahead of me, some kind of work in progress. What is it? The sculpture was almost statuesque, like some contemporary sculpture deposited in the urban grain of morning Stratford, the surroundings dotted with commuters rushing to taxis and trains. Essentially my mind was captivated then by something outside of myself (this surely a purpose of travel of any kind, however brief the intended vacation).

The driver's name was Francis. (The same name, as chance had it, as the first-name of my eldest boy, a young man of almost twenty, left to run the home whilst I was away for those two days, and the fact of the same name seemed to me a most happy kind of coincidence). Francis is French and has African parentage, and beside him in the front seat a French-Carribean girl of about twenty-two with cork screw black curls and doll-like big eyes talking about the items stowed in the back and some delivery they had planned. At the end of the trip she offered us each a bag of crisps which seemed rather a going-home-present kind of gesture after a rather wonderful party. A man sat to my left, an Algerian who ran a restaurant, but I cannot remember anything more about him, and we waited a while for another woman, French, and then the taxi sped across England, the morning landscape a muted greenish grey streak in the window as Véronique and I began sharing every significant detail of our life stories, lost for seven hours as if in the meandering streams of a conversation, as the muddied river of my mind began to clear as if flotsam and detritus was being washed aside, the two of us like detectives or amateur analysts trying to figure out the reasons for what had before been unexplained, and finally as if through clear water, her story woven into the space between us like a fabric with little mirrors on reflecting facets of our lives I could look into the past and understand. Strange parallel between her father's story and mine, how he lost his dream work and finished up in a hospital with dinner served to his cell-like bedroom on plates of food pushed through a tiny square gap in a wall, although when I was in hospital I had meals in a canteen and not served to my room. 

As Paris approached, I took a couple of photos... 

Francis on the right in the driver's seat..

This is the dress I wore for the trip which is red and white and has a bodice fastened on to the skirt section and a ribbon that ties at the back.

The outskirts of Paris...

The Bois de Vincennes

Pont de Bercy, adjacent to the Seine. And the driver dropped me off here, as a favour, the intended alighting point the Biblioteque National, but when he offered to take me right to the Seine, I said, yes, please do. I intend to walk along the Seine to my hotel on the left bank. I then had to leave the comfort of that transitional car- space, for the rainy riverbank, alone, and this is where I had to start to make something of this Paris trip or just sit alone at café tables writing fabricated stories as a substitute for the unbearable emptiness that can be life...