G: A native of the wild jungle, California, committed to exposing the heart of the unforgiving region.
V: A devout idiosyncrasy and a shameless romantic with a penchant for zig-zagging between the East Coast and West.
In Philadelphia, the weather is in the single digits, there is always something to do, and there is a grin hiding under every chair and behind every door. there’s a new fire place on campus that is nice, and everyone’s classes are hard. Everyone is cold and wants a job in a year. It all seems very good.
This story begins with the Seine. It wishes it began around the time of lonely Mondrian, but it doesn’t. This story begins with four near twenty year olds, trying to find their way out of a nightclub, rather unsuccessfully, which was under one of the great Ponts on the river I mentioned before.
But d’ya really wanna go? Said Thomas, his polo shirt sticky on his back.
Yes, I really, really want to go. I said. I was sick of feeling my blood lift and drop with every beat Kavinsky lifted or dropped. I was sick of my feet and my tongue.
Why? Which sounded more like “wyeeee”
Fucking because. Follow me. I took his hand and led him behind me. While I wove and dove he bumped into person after person, prompting him to flash his teeth and weakly raise his hand in very American attempts at apologies.
B your ass looks smokin’ tonight. Thomas remarked from behind me. I gave his hand a shut-the-fuck-up yank and kept trekking, scanning the mass of humans for Jeremy and Grace. We finally found them in the center of the first room, standing by a blue bar. Grace, blond and lanky, leaned with her legs snaking out of her black dress –which was more or less an oversized t-shirt—and spoke in slow English to a French man whose face was not far from hers. Jeremy stood protectively behind her, his crotch emphatically close to her negligible behind, glaring at the French man. He held a tumbler of absinthe in his left hand, which he had barely touched.
Jeremy, we’re leaving. I almost scolded him, Thomas coming to a halt behind me.
Thank god! He flicked his eyes towards Grace, who would probably be on the ground had Jeremy not been holding her up. Her slow English slurred and made her mouth droop.
I tapped the French man on his shoulder.
Monsieur, pardon-moi. Mon amie et moi allons partir, et tu n’es pas bienvenue de nous joindre. Bon Soirée.
I grabbed Grace by the hip and began to usher her out, she didn’t fight it, or say anything for that matter. Jeremy set his glass on the bar and took her other side, leaving Thomas to fend for himself, stumbling next to us three.
I didn’t know you spoke French. Said Jeremy.
I haven’t for a while. I said. I looked over at him, surprised by his sobriety. Jeremy seemed like he’d changed since we’d been abroad, although I guess I didn’t know him so well before. He stared ahead with strain, he was carrying most of Grace’s weight.
We reached the exit of the club and stepped into the night. I let go of Grace and stepped onto the street in search of a taxi.
New Hollywood was a wave of —mostly film school —educated kids who, under the influence of drugs, European cinema, and the anti-war movement, exploited a nearly bankrupt studio system to produce the best American films of the second half of the century. New Hollywood lasted a scant ten years or less, but left a rich legacy, not the least of which is a loose collection of spiritual and aesthetic airs, collectively known as the independents.Biskind, Peter. Down and Dirty Pictures.
once upon 80 years ago there was a woman born and raised in boston. from what i hear she lived a very nice life, although i cant claim to know much about it. she stayed in the states most of her life and didnt travel much.
the woman had a devoted husband and one son and one day she sent this son to school. she had once been his age and this made her cry the days after he left. he became a french literature major and he went on to study in paris.
not much happened to the son while he was in paris, but he did grow to love it. he loved the smokey latin quarter bars, he loved his big university classes, he loved knowing all the metro routes and exactly which car would be the least crowded at each hour of each day. he brought his mother back a necklace that was a small white gold eiffel tower.
the son graduated and he moved to new york. at a party of a friend he met a french woman about his age. she was beautiful and kind he was glad to practice the language he was starting to forget and they got to know one another.
the son and the french woman got married inevitably and to the mother’s dismay, they moved to paris. these were glorious days. the couple had two children, a girl and a boy, and they lived for a decade in paris.
the couple’s children, the girl and the boy, they grew to know the city and they grew used to their apartment, scurrying around it in little socks trying to flee from their mother (the french woman) when it was time to brush their teeth. but eventually they would relinquish their efforts, go into the little bathroom and huddle around the little sink and their mother would sing them a song she learned as a child in provence. the bathroom had a small, four-paned, circular window that almost exactly framed a symmetrical view of the eiffel tower. on lucky nights, the tower would start to sparkle while they brushed their teeth.
the son (now father) and the french woman (now mother) and their little boy and girl moved out of paris one day and to london. they missed paris and the son missed his mother, and they made it back to the states for a month every summer. the woman (now grandmother) always wore the white gold eiffel tower that her son bought during his first trip abroad. she never acknowledged it, never reminded him of when he gave it to her. she just kept it on, a silent piece of pride and sadness for the son who had gone so far…but was so far away.
last summer, the grandmother passed away. it was sudden and her son and the french woman flew straight away from london. the little boy and girl were now in college in canada and flew down to boston as quickly as they could as well. after the words were said and the funeral was done, the family went back to the grandmother’s house. on her bedside table was the white gold necklace. the grandfather explained through his grief that his wife had wanted laura to have it.
the now not-so-little girl put it on, letting the weight settle, the history of her family tightly sealed in one pendant on her chest.
Paris—In Monmartes all of Paris spins beneath your feet. You stand at the lookout of the Sacre-Coeur and you can see every person at each brasserie, every person clacking down the street to the nearest boulangerie or pharmacie or fish shop or what have you. You can see everyone who is stealing from a store, everyone entering a museum, everyone looking at the sky and wondering when exactly the clouds will lift (it seems they haven’t in some 200 odd years). In the film Amélie, the protagonist stands at this lookout and wonders how many Parisian couples are climaxing at that exact moment. It’s 34. Standing at Sacre-Coeur is like that.
In Monmartes you are on a plane looking down, you are in a crooked tower that spirals up from the Seine. In Monmartes your head is very actually in the clouds.
They were in a café. It was the belle-époque,
and no one had disintegrated into cubes yet.
They sat at separate tables until he approached her,
knocked on the table, and she looked up from her book —
A Bret Easton Ellis from 1980 something.
Hey it’s me, he says, it’s me Jack. She shakes her head.
It’s, he starts again but she interrupts:
Désolée, monsieur mais je ne parle pas l’anglais.
He replies: Baby, you’re reading a book in English,
I recommend that to you in 120 years.
Désolée monsieur, I don’t speak any English.
Her glazed eyes turn down, slumped shoulders,
a sequined band around her brow with a large grey and green feather sticking out.
It’s okay, honey he says,
We meet in Hollywood in 120 years
And I think then you are happy.
-V [BACK FROM THE DEAD]