Fishing in Beirut

March 12, 2010

Part 5: Natural Light, Oct 2001 – Jan 2002 (scene 8)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Part 5 : Natural Light — fishinginbeirut @ 09:43

Johnny got out while she slept there. Got back on the street in a rush. Outside he wandered aimlessly, walking down rue du Ranelagh, and reaching Avenue du President Kennedy. He ambled alongside the river.
He continued down Avenue de New York, then finding Place de l’Alma. He was hot now. He couldn’t decide whether to get the Metro here, or just keep on going. He troubled someone for a smoke. He ventured on, passing bridges for Invalides and Alexandre, and stopped at the obelisk. The hard-on of Place de la Concorde.
He walked nearer and wished he hadn’t, feeling ridiculous when some tourist requested a photo. But then this alone made him smile. Why not oblige these people, take their picture and be part of their lives. Enhance or establish a memory.
He began hoping he’d be asked again, and then he was, by a bubbly Japanese couple. He positioned them and made them say cheese. The wind took up out of nowhere, and laughs splintered lost in the gale. Half-heard, and disappearing.
Johnny sat down on the wall, and watched as the people moved on. New ones arrived in the meantime. He cleared his throat and spat phlegm on the pavement, coughing. A child skipped on by like a song.
Back home he called Melissa. She came around soon and they fucked. He pulled out and went to the bathroom, not wanting relief in her view. He groaned as the life hit the bowl.
She made coffee and he cut his fingernails. The sugar was hard and congealed.
“Tu penses qu’on peut etre ensemble?”
He ignored her and answered the phone.
Night fell and he’d done nothing. The light bulb refused to go on. He’d been here alone since that phone call, four and a half hours previously. He stretched out his hands in the dark.
On the street he felt marginally better. It was rare he just went for a walk. He passed down rue Doudeauville, with some unfortunate lying injured outside a kebab shop. He was moaning away to himself. Johnny turned left and kept going, passing the Metro station, and hitting rue de Clignancourt. He crossed over into Montmartre.
He took rue Custine, climbing steeply, and approached the Sacre Coeur from behind. The light was a radiant beacon. There were a few people around, but not hundreds, and he leaned on a fence looking down. The vast Parisian basin. Lights flickered everywhere, twinkling, and the orange of the Tour Eiffel. He yawned.
There was not much to think in this moment. It was best to just stand there and stare. He saw the multi-coloured pipes of the Centre Pompidou, Notre Dame, the river. This was home to him.
In the flat he boiled some water. Drank it to warm up his bones. A spider scuttled along the sink edge, and vanished unnoticed through a crack. Johnny climbed into his bed.

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