Fishing in Beirut

March 31, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 10)

Filed under: Character : Aria, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 07:56

Laura left the flat to go to college. She crossed over Republique and was soon at the Pompidou. She took Pont d’Arcole onto Ile de le Cite, and stopped for a moment beside Notre Dame, craning her neck until it hurt. The sparrows up above looked unnatural.
The Sorbonne stood between Saint Jacques and Saint Michel. She entered through the main gates. Passing through corridors and hallways, with multi-national students everywhere, she felt a buzzing in her head, and forgot what she’d meant to remember. There was something to do after this.
The classes were uneventful, taking her up to four o’clock, and then depositing her back on the street. She looked at CDs in Gibert Joseph. The alternative section was pretty good, well stocked if heavy of price tag. There were bands she had never even heard of.
One of these, The Death Monsters, had a picture of a girl being tortured. A guy pushed alongside to study it. Was he a rocker or a Goth, a nu-metaller or a punk? She found herself laughing at these labels.
She moved over to the F section, bands called Fugazi and Fish. Fugazi were D.C. punks. She picked up the record, read the song titles, and saw she knew most of them to sing. This was an album a friend had. Leaving without buying anything, she remembered what she’d planned to get done. It was too late now to accomplish it.
She met Lukas by the river. She was homeward bound again.
“It’s a difficult game for the first time writer,” he said. “You have to write the book with all your heart, and then sell it like a used car.” She hadn’t seen him in months.
They spoke briefly as the wind blew, him flicking his hair and looking iconic. He was depth and mystery until you knew him. She wished him luck with his work regardless, although he’d never let her read a line. She left, sensing he didn’t want her too.
She didn’t look back, but was aware he was still standing there. Watching. She tied back her hair as she went. She crossed Place de l’Hotel de Ville. Pigeons scattered in front of her, cooing and flapping their wings. Their droppings were drying on the stone.
In time they would harden and disappear. Laura felt her ponytail on her neck. She went up rue du Temple as the light fell, crossing and then recrossing the street. Pavements were being dug up and drilled at. This street was so familiar, this Paris life permanent now. It was strange to believe she might one day leave it. There was a Chinese man dragging a mattress, scuffing it up and down kerbs. His face didn’t register exertion. She wondered should she help him, and actually made a first step towards doing so, but the aloofness of his calm put her off. How to initiate proceedings?
She walked on and soon was home. She turned on the light by the door. The neighbours were preparing something spicy and exotic, the smell entering the room as she did. An unwestern concoction of musk. She hung up her coat and sat down by the cooker, observing its rust and small cracks. She was starving to make something great.


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