December 2010 Archives

Tattered

| 6094 Comments

I'm very careful with books lent to me by friends. I will make sure that I don't put unnecessary pressure on the spine, I turn the pages with care.

But almost all of my books - my prized books, my beautiful trove of books, my small but well-loved collection of books - are somewhat tattered.

It's not because I don't care about them. It's not because I actually like the dog-eared pages or slightly creased covers. I think it's because they live with me as I'm reading them.

My books follow me everywhere. I read on the métro. I read as I walk to and from the métro. I read in the park. I read at lunch. I read in the car. I read in the bath. I read in bed. I read when I stir custard.

I read when I'm eating spaghetti bolognaise and quite a large number of my books have tiny red spots on the pages. I read when I'm eating a giant bowl of phô and sometimes the noodles make splashes. I dropped a book in the park the other day when I was trying to juggle my falafel and read at the same time. It landed in a pile of leaves and narrowly missed a puddle. I've dropped a book in the bathtub. I was so upset because it really couldn't be saved and I went out and bought another copy.

My books are everywhere. There are books on the couch, on the table, on the kitchen bench, on the floor beside the bed, on a shelf in the bathroom. There are books on the steps of the staircase. My bookcases are overflowing and the books are piled up precariously on top of them.

It's no wonder my books are tattered. They're loved. They're read over and over and over again. They're lent to practically anyone who shows even a passing interest. I find myself shoving my books into the hands of friends and I say "you must read it. you must".

I would like to have bookshelves full of books in pristine condition, but it's never going to happen. This is just the way I am.

I recently went to a reading with a pile of books to be signed and was a little embarrassed to pass over my stack of well-thumbed novels to the author. He just patted them, and said, "this is good - they're loved".

I'm drawn to other people who love to read and I once thought I could never marry someone who doesn't enjoy reading as much as I do. But I find it doesn't bother me very much at all that Sylvain doesn't read beyond scientific papers and the occasional comic book. He is incredibly enthusiastic about my reading, and certainly doesn't begrudge my habit of dragging home a couple of new books a week. It's actually a good thing that he doesn't read.

Cos there wouldn't be room for his books if he did.

Tattered

Lost, Stolen, Discarded

| 2 Comments

This morning I noticed single condom lying, discarded, on the roof of the fondue restaurant situated just under my office window. I wondered why it's there...

Lost, Stolen, Discarded


*******************


"You're so beautiful," his mouth is on her neck, his voice is muffled in her hair. He picks her up and sits her on the open windowsill. She undoes the last couple of buttons on her top then leans back, laughing, letting her shirt fall open. He holds her tightly at the waist and smiles, "someone could see..." He kisses her shoulder, her chest. The night air is cool on her bare belly.

He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a small purple square. She smiles cheekily and roughly pulls him closer. The condom slips out of fingers and tumbles out the window.

They freeze.

She raises her eyebrows.

He shakes his head.

She shrugs, and starts buttoning up her shirt.

He puts his hand on hers, "I'll whip downstairs and be back in a couple of minutes."
She tilts her head and thinks for a moment, "ok, I'll warm up the bed for us then..."
He kisses her on the mouth, a long, hard, hot kiss, then breaks away reluctantly, grabbing his wallet and racing out the door as she climbs down from the windowsill and pulls the window closed.

The first pharmacy, at the foot of his apartment building, has been closed for hours. The second, 500 metres away, is also closed, despite the fact that the obligatory bright green cross is still illuminated.

He stops for a moment, thinking of the beautiful girl upstairs, then sprints to the closest métro. The RATP worker is pulling the gates over the entrance closed. He clasps his hands together and begs him to let him inside for just one minute. "C'mon man, I know you've been there too..."

The RATP worker winks at him, letting him scoot underneath the gate and run inside to buy as many condoms as he can from the machine. Satisfied, he claps the RATP worker on the shoulder and tells him to have a good night as he runs back up the stairs and towards his apartment building.

Just then, in a moment as effective as a cold shower, he realises he's forgotten his keys. And, of course, the entry phone is broken.


*******************


"I'm just about done." She is relieved, and flashes an uncomfortable smile at him around the corner of her computer screen.

"Good. I'll get ready to lock up then." He gets up from his desk, letting his fingers brush against her shoulder as he walks past. She shivers, and would throw a glass of cold water at him if she had one. He's really really really not her type.

She presses Print, then Save, then shuts her computer down. She stands up to get her bag then turns to find him leaning against her desk. The look in his eyes in unmistakable.

She wonders how she got herself into this mess. If only she hadn't spent so much time on Facebook instead of working on that stupid report this afternoon. She would've been out of here with everyone else hours ago and wouldn't be in this sticky situation that she had spent the last three weeks avoiding.

She notices a small purple square he has put in the middle of her desk.

Oh come on, seriously, can he BE any more unappealing? Does this work with ANYONE? No wonder he goes through so many secretaries.

She rolls her eyes and picks it up. Gotta cut your losses, she thinks to herself. She'd call the temp agency tomorrow.

"Oh, you lost something," she said, flicking the packet out the open window and skipping out the door, grinning to herself about the look on his face.


*******************


She sits her two year old son on the chair at the tiny desk in their hotel room, then looks around for something for him to play with. Their travelling bags were already on their way downstairs with her husband and their eldest child, and apart from the hotel phone or the big book of restaurant menus she can't see anything to occupy his attention. She grabs her handbag and puts it in his hands, knowing full well she will have a mess to clean up. But how much can really happen in 1 minute?

"Stay here and I'll be back in a sec," she kisses him on the head and races into the bathroom. Thank goodness they weren't going to have another one.

He sits quietly for a moment, gently patting the velvet bag that reminds him of their puppy at home. Then he climbs up onto the desk, methodically removing objects from the handbag one by one and dropping them out the tiny window. Most things slide off the roof below and onto the street.

Clunk.


*******************


They lie in bed, the warm afternoon sun streaming through the open window. The sounds of laughter and clinking glasses float up from the street 3 floors below.

He pushes himself up on his elbow, and gently brushes her hair away from her face.

"You know... Us, here, in Paris... I think it could be time..." He looks at her cheekily & throws something out the window.

She clasps her hands to her heart. Finally. Finally.

"Let's start a family..."

"Yes. Yes. Yes."


*******************


"I'm STARVING." he complains.

She looks at her rapidly growing 15 year old son with affection - he's been taller than her for a couple of years now. "There's a crêperie downstairs. I think it's open all the time."

He heads into their tiny hotel bathroom, and calls out over his shoulder, "I'll need a bit of cash."

She picks up her handbag (Longchamp! bought in Paris! it was well worth waiting in line at Galéries Lafayettes yesterday - the girls are going to be so jealous when she gets back to Perth) and finds her purse. She rifles through the pounds and the dollars until she finds a ten euro note.

"I'll pop it in your wallet!" she says to him as he comes out of the bathroom, wiping his wet hands on his jeans.

"No no no, that's ok, mum," he hurriedly grabs the note and his wallet out of her hands, then turns to the window as she frowns at him for being so rude. He fumbles through the wallet and flips something discretely out the window. Hopes of ditching his mum in the shops and falling in love with a Moulin Rouge dancer were misguided anyway.


*******************


You can't always know what's coming, or how it's going to turn out. But you can always be prepared. Support World Aids Day!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2010 is the previous archive.

January 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.