Fishing in Beirut

May 6, 2010

Part 8: Te Quiero (scene 10)

Filed under: Character : Karen, Part 8 : Te Quiero — fishinginbeirut @ 09:15

Karen walked by the river. The first Saturday in April, reasonably warm, and she knew it was between ten and eleven in the morning. Her stick scuffed off a tin can and she redirected herself slightly.
She heard a tourist cruiser approaching, a voice announcing in English and French the proximity of the Quartier Latin. The boat was coming from Pont Neuf, heading east.
She walked on, letting the morning pass by itself. Janey had called the day before, and they were going to meet later. Karen smelled fast food, and then heard teenage voices. Some happy group by the bank, sugared up and flirting.
A xylophone-like melody floated across the water. She didn’t have a clue what it was. It was caught in the air and chiming, this strange little sequence of notes. A publicity jeep, carrying an ad?
She strained to hear more. It was too late, it was gone. There was just the flow of the water, and an alarm going off somewhere. Soon these banks would be filled with tourists. Already she had noticed an increase. Still, on a day like today it was possible to walk, the congestion not so total that her liberty was gone. A dog ran by, the sound of his lead hitting the cobles.
An hour later she was at l’Hotel de Ville. She’d crossed over Ile de la Cite, taking in the feeling of a now gorgeous late French morning. Notre Dame and the American voices. The place next to l’Hotel was crowded also, but she sat at the rue de Rivoli end, letting the sun-lightened air hit her skin.
She thought of where she might walk. She didn’t want to go home, but it was of course necessary to plan a route. She could take rue du Temple, swing a left onto rue Reaumur, and then another left at rue du Louvre would bring her back towards the river. She heard a child demand ice cream and be denied the request.
The sun on her face brought back memories of Chicago. With her mother, in the garden. The sensation of her neighbourhood, the remaining presence of her father. A shadow scanned across the sun, the coolness interrupting her.
She got up and took the walk she had planned. Through the Marais and back around by the Louvre. At Pont des Arts she sat on the bridge, with performers and their audiences.
She had moments where she wondered should she go home. They had increased of late. Little nagging ideas – perhaps it would be best. Her family, her own people. She could catch a plane, touch down in O’Hare, and be back in her hometown, full of promise. But she was in her hometown now, by the water.

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