rouen // gros-horloge // cathédrale notre-dame de rouen // weekend in paris
Paris + Rouen, April 2019
Minolta X700 // Ilford HP5+ 400
– SLY –
The cobbled pathways of Paris received Spring like a cosy duvet, chasing out the final remnants of crispness in the air. The city took on shades of color I had forgotten it could harbor – such a feast for my soul!
Paris (Ménilmontant, Rivoli, Concorde, République), March 2019
Minolta X700 // Fujicolor C200
– SLY –
A soaring eagle in the sky. A martyr hung upon the cross. A broken girl, teetering on the edge of a bridge. Her head cradled by clouds and her feet rooted to the land, as her arms, like leafless branches, welcomed the horizon in a wide embrace.
A gentle breeze held her aloft, with death before her and the world behind her. She was not, however, interested in crossing the threshold between the two – instead, she hoped the proximity to the first may launch her headfirst into the second.
Soporific music was blasted in an attempt to block out the sounds of reality, creating an impossible silence. This sensation of peace was virtually unknown to her.
This same music floundered the pleas of a broken man who wished to plunge this girl back into the real world – however unreal it felt. His calls were as lost to the wind as her cares, and he grew more and more determined to save this soul he barely even knew.
He whispered to himself not to startle the girl and send her hurtling to her death. He could see her shoulders gently raising and falling as she took deep breaths – a sensation of profound dismay took over his limbs and he saw his arms shooting out in her direction. Time froze as his fingers wrapped around the hem of her dress, which was as diaphanous as the fabric of reality.
I still remember the first time I saw you.
You looked completely fearless under the April sun – unkempt hair, untied shoelaces and everything in between. With a sleight of hand, you unveiled a chunky piece of gold from your pocket – it danced with sunlight as you used it to light the cigarette dangling between your lips.
I’d never have imagined the embodiment of nonchalance to use a Dupont lighter.
You had your back to me and I could see just enough of your profile to make out a smattering of freckles upon a crooked nose.
“Turn around,” I thought.
Did I speak out loud? The words were meant as a sensual whisper, a secret – but the wind seemed to carry them straight into your ears as you slowly turned my way.
I held my breath as our gazes met. Your green eyes suspended me across time and space – nothing existed but you and I.
You blinked once, then twice.
The world started to come back into focus behind you as impatient drivers honked their horns from behind tinted windows. Our fleeting bond ceased to exist as fast as it had been formed, as you turned to cross the street and tore your green eyes from my wide ones. I watched, dumbfounded, while your lanky legs took you into some unknown adventure and freed me from your grip.
the wind may blow warm with the promise of summer
the flame of the sun may lord over blooms of spring
the dew may be reincarnated from the snow of winter
but within me lives eternal the unshakable autumn
Held aloft by spotlights and musical instruments
I languidly attempt to break through ambivalence
My delicate soprano echoes in tones morose
And I silently debate my ability to engross
Unable to tell sock and buskin from this countenance o’ mine
Memorized verses and undisclosed soliloquies intertwine
There’s laughter in the peanut gallery, though not for the punchline
But it’s only a reminder that the stage is mine
Staring into his eyes feels almost like looking into a mirror.
Not only because his blank expression matches mine, but because it’s so silent. I feel like I’m alone, almost, and for some reason that makes me feel naked under his scrutiny. But this silence is not your usual peaceful, empty silence–it’s driven. It’s meaningful and pregnant. As if on cue, my stomach gurgles and my first reaction of embarrassment is washed away by our good natured laughs.
“Julian,” he says suddenly, a lopsided smirk drawing my eyes to his lips.
He looks at me once more, and I feel like a canvas being stroked by a brush. Disquieting quiet once more covers us like a heavy duvet as he takes my hand in his, and this time I almost feel like even silence is too much sound. His fingers, rough as may be, trace my hand as if I were some sort of treasure. His touch feeds me as much as it fuels my hunger, and I can feel desire wrapping around me like vines.
I seem to snap awake when I feel my body responding to him and stand up hurriedly, snatching my hand away from his. He says nothing, just looks at me as if he knows what I am thinking. Then again, he probably does. I feel a powerful need of escape overcoming me, and instead of running to the door, sit myself back down. What exactly is escape?
“Jules…” He whispers.
For a moment I can’t even believe that’s the same name I’ve been called all my life. It is the only thing that truly belongs to me, and somehow it sounds different on his tongue.
I’m about to ask why he called my name and said nothing, when I realize he has been saying a lot. It’s me who hasn’t been listening.
“Staring down the rain won’t make it stop.”
“Then come on,” he says, holding out a hand toward me. I look at it, then force my eyes to meet his. I search through the fog, through the thunderous gray, but the only hint of emotion I see in the eyes looking into mine is vague impatience.
I run headfirst into the rain without taking his hand or giving him a warning. It doesn’t take him long to reach and then pass me by. Droplets of water spank me, ruining my hair and getting into my eyes, blurring away the world into a desperate, soggy mess.
“Wait!” I yell after him, but his body gets farther away from mine each second; blurring even more. I lift up a hand as if to grab him, but all it seems to accomplish is blurring him further into the horizon; like charcoal on paper.
I lift my leg feebly to run after him, but find my strength gone, and slump on the ground as a heap of defeated misery. Closing my eyes is a relief, and only then do I realize how long it has been since I have been bathed by nature. With my eyes closed, the sound of the water hitting concrete seems the only sound there is to be heard– the caressing water feels like a part of me, as much as my own blood. My lips part and I taste myself in the water. There’s no make-up to be molten, no hair to be spoiled, no clothes to be ruined; there is nothing but me and the world, and nothing between us.
“What happened?” His voice seems to slap me back into consciousness. “I’m sorry. Come on, let’s find some cover.”
“No!” I notice how crazy I must seem, and then repeat myself in a lower voice. “No.”
“Are you okay?” He asks, holding out his hand again.
This time my eyes find his effortlessly, and lose him just as easily; a pair of dots in the vast skyline. We forget running and simply walk with the sky above us and the world before us; our guardians and arbitrators. A grin tugs at the edge of my lips as I reach a hand out toward the rain, trying to grasp it between my fingers as if we were sharing some sort of inside joke or secret. I wink in the general upward direction, and take the striking thunder as a good enough, if slightly enthusiastic, response.
Yesterday night, I finally discovered the taste of your lips
I understood that my imagination could never do you justice
At last, I was tenderly cradled in the bosom of happiness
Yesterday night, I drifted through the endless prairies of your eyes
Traveled through miles and eons by the tip of your tongue
Fathomed the sensation of an island receiving a castaway ashore
Yesterday night, I was invincible
Sure of everything I’d ever wanted to know
Free of doubt and full of wonder
Yesterday night, you visited me in my dreams
I awoke with the sensation of emptiness in my chest
Your proclamations of love will remain whispers of my imagination
I will forever wonder about the taste of your lips