Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sleeplessly Sad

There is no book.

I stuttered over my response to plotlines of what I'd written in the past, seated in a London restaurant, reasonably sure I was blushing at my silly attempts at forming some story. I'm not a writer. Not really a scientist. Instead, I've found a smart little niche that allows me to excel in being efficient and trying to keep people satisfied with what various teams are doing. And, with all due modesty, I'm rather good at it.

Still, there's something about Paris that arouses the creative spirit. I was struck by the passion when a couple embraced at the curb in the Latin Quarter, her arms wrapped around his waist while his hands tangled in her long hair. They were kissing while waiting for the pedestrian signal to turn green and while I admitted it was a nice way to pass the time, I also wrinkled my nose when he began to moan. It's Sunday morning, I thought. Have a little respect. There are churches all over the place.

I considered it again as I skirted a man on the sidewalk, bag of groceries in one hand and bouquet of roses in the other. The flowers were crowded tightly together above where they were held in his fist, the deep red of the blossoms creating a solid mass of delicately curled petals wrapped in purple paper. I wondered where he was going, resisting the urge to stop and turn so I might find out. While I don't know Paris well enough to set even a short story here, I can feel the tug of emotions. There's a seductive energy willing one to look harder or linger over sights or tastes or textures.

I filled my bathtub after I finished mooing at the cheesemaker down the street. (Do I seem like the person who knows the French translation for cow's milk? I was grateful, quite frankly, that I didn't pretend I had an udder while uttering my gentle bovine sound.) Settling into the water and listening to the gentle hum of the towel warmer on the wall, I closed my eyes and wiggled my toes. I tried to imagine a woman more beautiful and social than I am, attempting to mentally pair her with someone equally wonderful as I thought of how romantic my little room in the corner could be. Perhaps the stripes decorating the long walls would inspire lengthy, slow strokes of hands across skin. They could stare at the beams in the ceiling afterward, relaxing into the soft mattress and snuggling under linens as their eyes followed the straight lines of some beams and soft curves of others as they cast shadows in the dim light.

Their fingers would link, I imagined, even as my own did while I curled up in the tub, wrapping my arms around my legs and resting my cheek on my knees, water lapping gently around my sides. I swiped at a stray tear even as I sniffled, thinking despairingly of the postcards I'd tucked in my bag for tomorrow, neatly addressed and waiting for stamps so they could make their way across the Atlantic to my nieces. Would they, once grown, be horrified that it was possible to fail so miserably at finding someone to love me? Or admire that I'd found my way to the great cities of the world? Had a satisfying career? They're not mutually exclusive, I'll tell them someday - having a strong professional and personal life. It just turned out that it was that way for me.

So the writing of stories, for me, seems a pathetic way of imagining a happy ending when one won't occur - in the romantic way - in a personal sense. It's simply too awful, too heartbreaking, to articulate what could be but isn't.

There are random blog posts, sometimes with photos I've taken. There are masses of emails, communicating all sorts of advances and delays, problems and solutions, questions and answers. There are conversations - both funny and sad, thriling and dull.

But there is no book.


H said...

Oh how I adore Paris! I have been there twice, and it is so beautiful, and the museums wonderful, and the Parisians a mixture of tough and stylish. Plus it is a city for night people where the local bistro does not open for dinner until 7 or 8 and you can linger over wonderful bits of this and that for hours with no sense of being rushed. I would say Bonjour! Parlez vous Anglais? and the Parisians would happily converse with me in English rather than hear me murder their language, however politly.

I want to go back to Paris. I could LIVE in Paris and buy flowers for my table from the venders everywhere, and good cheese and bread and wine. Mmmm

It looks like you had a wonderful old hotel with Character.

lucy said...

(((((Katie))))) Paris is wonderful and your photos are beautiful so I hope it's distracting you from your sadness. I'm still wishing for a book for you, but I know how it hurts both to keep hoping and to accept the lack of it.

Amelie said...

Oh Katie. I hope you feel better soon.

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